Area code gets called to duty



Soon, Ventura County residents will be forced to reprogram their iPhones and Androids—and even their old-school land lines that have speed dial.

On June 2, calls from one 805 area-code number to another will require dialing 805 in addition to the seven-digit number. This means any saved automatic-dial numbers programmed into phones (without 805) will have to be updated.

The change comes as a result of a new area code that’s been added to the region that had been covered solely by 805, including most of Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties as well as parts of Kern and Monterey counties.

A year ago, the California Public Utilities Commission approved an overlay that would allow 805 number holders to retain their current numbers but would add an 820 area code to the region for new numbers. The overlay was necessary because the 805 area code was running short of numerical combinations.

Joe Cocke, a senior planner for the North American Numbering Plan Administration, said using an overlay—as opposed to splitting up an area code zone and requiring tens of thousands to get new numbers—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 told The Acorn last summer.

At the time, Cocke said there were 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 the remaining numbers will be assigned to customers.

After that, all new numbers will start with the 820 area code.

The 805 service area was last modified in 1999 when the 661 area code (Kern County) was split off.