Will it Still Be Area Code 310?By: Courier Staff Writer
Public Utilities Commission held public hearings this week to gauge reaction to a proposal for a new “overlay” telephone code in the Beverly Hills area, including the Westside and South Bay areas now using the 310 area code.
Growing telephone use, especially cell phones, means the 310 area code is rapidly running out of available numbers. The PUC will have to decide what to do before the numbers run out.
An overlay would add a new code in the existing 310 area meaning customers with 310 numbers would keep those numbers, but many new customers in the same region would have a different area code.
In the US, about 40 areas have overlays, but so far none are in California.
An alternative would be to split the area geographically, with one part continuing to use 310 and the other getting a new area code.
In 1997, when the commission broke off Long Beach and southeast Los Angeles County, there was need to create the 562 area code.
The commission authorized another split in 2000 when the need arose, with West Los Angeles, Malibu, Santa Monica and most of Inglewood remaining in 310 and 424 area code was created for Santa Catalina, San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson, Lomita, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Harbor City, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Lawndale, Gardena, Compton, the Harbor Gateway, Hawthorne and Lynwood.
Opposing the split because of expense, inconvenience and confusion are merchants, government officials, residents and phone-service providers. Wireless telephone companies also oppose overlays, but officials with Verizon Wireless, Verizon, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint and T-Mobile said this week they would support a “triggered” overlay, in which a new area code would not be added onto an existing area code until numbers in the old code ran critically short.
It is thought customers in the 310 area code will experience the least impact from the triggered overlay because all current land lines and wireless customers will keep their existing phone numbers. They won’t experience the cost and inconvenience of changing stationery and business cards.
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