It seems the telephone 916 area code is running out of number combinations for new customers. Consequently, they are adding a new area code—279 (called an overlay)—to our area. As a result, all of us in the 916 area will need to dial 1+916+the 7 digit phone number when calling another 916 number. Yes, to call your neighbor you will have to add a 1 and 916 to their number as if you’re dialing long distance. This will not change your phone number, just the way people will call you and you will call other 916 numbers.
You can start doing this now, but it will become mandatory in February 2018. It’s probably a good idea to start doing it so it will eventually become a habit and you will automatically dial the new way. You can start by adding the 1 and 916 to numbers currently programmed in your telephone for automatic dialing.
Below is part of a press release from the Public Utilities Commission explaining the change. Please pay attention to the list at the end of the article as it gives you reminders of what you can begin doing to prepare for the change.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is reminding residential and business customers served by the 916-area code to prepare for the introduction of the new 279 area code overlay. The 279-area code will be added as an overlay to the 916 region to ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers for the area. An overlay is the addition of another area code (279) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (916).
This overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code. However, with the 916/279 area code overlay, customers must dial “1” plus the three-digit area code for all calls to and from telephone numbers with the 916 and 279 area codes. Customers may begin using this new dialing procedure on August 12, 2017. The new dialing procedure will become mandatory for all residential and business customers on February 10, 2018.
Residents and businesses with telephone numbers within the 916-area code will retain their current telephone number(s) and area code. Beginning March 10, 2018, consumers requesting new or additional telephone numbers for services may be assigned telephone numbers with either the new 279 area code or the original 916 area code, depending on available telephone number inventory.
Beginning August 12, 2017, residents and businesses in the 916 region should:
- Begin dialing 1 + area code + telephone number for all calls.
- Notify alarm service providers.
- Reprogram equipment or features including automatic dialers, speed-dialing, call forwarding, modems for computer or Internet dial-up access, etc.
- Advise family, friends, and business contacts to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all calls.
- Ensure that security door and gate systems are reprogrammed to dial 1 + area code + telephone number.
- Test telephone equipment to determine if it can dial and receive 1 + area code + telephone number. Questions regarding changes in telephone equipment should be directed to telephone equipment vendors.
- Update items such as stationery, checks, business cards, advertisements, promotional items, brochures, Internet webpages, and catalogs to reflect the 1 + area code + telephone number change. Consumers will still be able to dial three digits to reach 911, 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, and 811.
For more information, consumers and businesses should contact their telephone service provider or visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/916areacode