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Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has broad jurisdiction over telephone number issues, it delegates authority to the states on how to introduce new area codes. Therefore, when a petition is filed with the IURC, the agency does not determine whether to implement area code relief; rather, it decides how it should be done based on the evidence presented.
On July 10, 2014, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) filed a petition for relief in the 317 area code. According to the most recent projections by the NANPA, the 317 area code serving central Indiana is expected to run out of assignable telephone numbers in the second quarter of 2017. To gather evidence and hear from impacted parties, the IURC has scheduled five field hearings throughout the 317 area code starting in September 2014. Most recently, the IURC went through a similar process in determining the method of area code relief for the 812 area code. During the hearing process and implementation schedule of the new 930 area code, which will serve the same geographic area as the 812 area code, the IURC learned that planning, preparation, and education are paramount to making this transition a success, particularly for businesses using automated systems and those with complex phone systems such as call centers.
To view frequently asked questions about area code relief, please click here.
The 317 area code was one of the original codes established in Indiana in 1947, along with 812. Since then, the area has seen relief twice and is scheduled to exhaust in the second quarter of 2017. In its petition, the NANPA proposed three alternatives to the Commission and recommends and all-services distributed overlay to be implemented.
1. All-Services Distributed Overlay- An all-services overlay would add a new area code to the entire 317 territory, allowing existing customers to retain their current phone numbers but would require customers to use 10-digit dialing on all calls.
2. Concentrated Overlay (Indianapolis rate center)- A new area code overlay would be assigned to only the Indianapolis rate center (central portion of Marion County). Customers in this area would be required to use 10-digit dialing and new numbers assigned in this area would use a new area code. Customers outside of the overlay area would keep their phone numbers and would continue to use 7-digit dialing until the remaining 317 area codes exhaust. The overlay would then be extended to all rate centers in the current 317 service area. The projected time before the need for expansion of the overlay is 6.3 years. The projected life of the area code, including after the overlay is expanded to cover the 317 area, is 49 years.
3. Concentrated Overlay (Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Oaklandon, Cumberland, Acton, Greenwood, West Newton, Plainfield, Brownsburg, and Zionsville rate centers- all centers in or partly in Marion County)- In this scenario, customers in the above-listed rate centers would be required to use 10-digit dialing. New phone numbers would be assigned the new area code in the concentrated overlay area. The projected time before the need for expansion of the overlay is 18.4 years. The projected life of the area code, including after the overlay is expanded to cover the entire 317 area, is also 49 years.
The map below shows the 317 area code along with county and rate center boundaries.
317 Area Code Field Hearings
The Commission held five field hearings in 2014 in which interested parties could speak directly to the Commission regarding the 317 area code relief. The field hearings were held on:
Sep. 26, 2014, 10:00 a.m.- PNC Center, 101 W. Washington Street, Room 224, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Oct. 1 2014, 6 p.m.- Carmel Clay School District Office, Board Room, 5201 E. Main Street, Carmel, IN 46033
Oct. 14, 2014, 6 p.m.- Franklin College Student Center, Branigin Room, 101 Branigin Boulevard, Franklin, IN 46131.
Oct. 29, 2014, 6 p.m.- Danville High School Auditorium, 100 Warrior Way, Danville, IN 46122
Dec. 1, 2014, 6 p.m.- Greenfield City Hall, Council Chambers, 10 S. State Street, Greenfield, IN 46140
The NANPA files its petition on behalfof the industry once an area code is three years away from exhaust- Petition in Cause No. 44513
The Commission's Order authorizes the communications industry to implement what is called an "all-services distributed overlay" (or "area code overlay") to resolve the 317 area code numbering shortage. Under the terms of the Order, the new area code overlay will become effective in late spring, 2016. The new area code will be 463, which spells "IND" on the telephone keypad.
An area code overlay allows a new area code to be assigned over the same geographic area as an existing area code. This way, existing customers will be able to keep their phone numbers along with their current area code, which in most cases is 317. Once the new 463 area code overlay is effective, customers seeking a new phone number may be assigned a phone number with either a 463 or a 317 area code. The new 463 area code will not change long distance calling. Local calling areas do not change when a new area code is established.
The biggest change for customers will be mandatory 10-digit dialing. Once the area code overlay is effective, 10-digit dialing will be required for all local calls (three-digit area code + seven-digit phone number). Customers will continue to dial a "1" plus the 10-digit phone number for long distance calls.
An area code overlay was the industry's recommendation to the Commission because it minimize the inconvenience, costs, and burdens on customers and service providers. The Commission's Order requires the industry implementation committee to develop a detailed 13-month implementation plan for submission to the Commission and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor within 60 days of the Commission's Order. The industry implementation committee is also required to develop a customer education plan for the implementation of the overlay, in particular, addressing questions about mandatory 10-digit dialing.