2017-06-15 / Front Page

The 805 no longer special

New area code introduced
By Daniel Wolowicz

Make some room, 805. Here comes the 820.

It’s the new overlay area code that will be added to the territory covered by 805, which serves small portions of Monterey and Kern counties and most of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The 820 area code overlay will be introduced in early June 2018 because the region has exhausted most of its 805 numbers, the California Public Utilities Commission said.

Customers won’t have to change their phone numbers as the change will happen automatically.

To ensure those in the 805 are aware of the change and to get them used to dialing 1 plus the full 10-digit phone number by summer 2018, the commission will allow for a “permissive dialing period” between November 2017 and April 30, 2018 when customers can still make local calls by dialing a seven-digit phone number.

By May 2018, however, customers will have to use 1 plus the 10-digit phone number for any line in the 805 area code. The same will apply to 820 numbers when they premiere in June 2018.

Joe Cocke, the senior relief planner for the North American Numbering Plan Administration, said using an overlay—as opposed to changing half the numbers in an area code—is more convenient and cheaper for customers, especially businesses.

“The overlay has become the new standard, and it is the recommended option for adding a new area code,” Cocke said. North American Numbering is a Virginia-based company that contracts with 20 North American countries, including in the Caribbean, to administer their phone numbering systems.

Cocke said there are about 330,000 number combinations remaining for the 805 area code, but the availability of those numbers depends on what carriers have already been assigned. There are about 58 companies that provide telephone service in the region, he said, and eventually those numbers will be assigned to customers and all new numbers will have to start with the 820 area code.

The 805 area code was introduced in 1957 when it was split off from Los Angeles’ 213 area code, according to the CPUC website. The 805 service area was last modified when the 661 area code (Kern County) was split off in 1999.

The CPUC offers the following tips to help customers prepare for the area code overlay and the need to dial 1 plus the area code:

Contact security or alarm vendors to update dial-up numbers to avoid a break in security routines and contacts.

Reprogram equipment or features, e.g., automatic dial, speed dial, call forwarding, modems for computer or internet dial-up access, etc., to dial 1 plus area code plus telephone number.

Update items like stationery, checks, etc., to include your area code and telephone number.

Start thinking of dialing 1 plus the area code plus the telephone number for all calls.

Advise families, friends, etc., to dial 1 plus the area code plus telephone number for all calls.

Provide your area code and telephone number, not just the telephone number, as needed.

When asking for someone else’s number, remember to ask for the area code too.

Remember that the previous area code and the new area code will coexist within the same geographic region.

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