HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today voted to dismiss the relief plan and implementation schedule of the geographic split for the 814 area code. In March 2012, the PUC was informed that the projected exhaust date for the 814 area code has been extended over five years or until second quarter 2018.
“This is certainly great news, as I recognize that any form of area code relief has an impact on industry and the public. Today’s action certainly helps minimize that impact,” said PUC Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Jr. in a statement.
The Commission voted 5-0 to dismiss the 2009 petition filed by Neustar, the neutral third party North American Number Planning Administrator, on behalf of the telecommunications industry to provide area code relief for the 814 Numbering Plan Area (NPA). In January 2012, the PUC announced it had suspended the implementation of area code relief in the 814 region pending the April 2012 release of projected exhaust dates.
The Commission’s recent review of the area code indicates that the 814 NPA has experienced a more efficient use of telephone numbers through a decrease in the demand for numbers and continued Commission efforts, such as mandatory thousands block pooling, to conserve numbering resources. The 814 projected exhaust date now meets the criteria for withdrawal or dismissal set forth by federal regulations because a state commission is permitted to dismiss a relief petition when the agency determines that relief is no longer needed.
In June 2009, Neustar filed a petition recommending an overlay in 814. The Commission reviewed historical and forecasted data on current numbering resources and comments received from the public through hearings and written submissions. During the time period from June 2009 until December 2010, the PUC received input from the public providing various comments supporting both the geographic split and overlay options available to the Commission. Therefore, on December 16, 2010, the PUC approved a plan to split the 814 area code along geographic boundaries to avoid running out of phone numbers, creating a new area code for customers in portions of northwestern Pennsylvania. Neustar chose 582 as the new area code for the Northwestern part of PA.
The Commission then reopened the record on the case and continued to review more than 40 petitions for reconsideration, and testimony received during additional technical conferences and public input hearings. Relief alternatives including an overlay of a new area code and various geographic splits of the existing area code running east to west, north to south or northeast to southeast were considered.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No. P-2009-2112925