Anyone wondering whether there’s significant growth in Wilson County and Middle Tennessee will soon be able to find out simply by picking up the phone.
Tennessee Regulatory Authority officials announced in October a new 629 area code will be implemented in Wilson County and across Middle Tennessee.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator notified the TRA at that time residents could expect to see the new area code issued in spring 2015. The move came after TRA’s recent unanimous vote to implement an overlay option as the best course of action to address a shortage of phone numbers in Middle Tennessee that use the 615 area code.
Beginning July 26, anyone making a call should start dialing the area code. This will start a grace period, so dialing just the seven digits will still be connected.
The new 10-digit dialing procedure will be required starting Feb. 28. Calls will not be completed without the area code, and a recording will instruct callers to hang up and dial again.
On March 28, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the 629 area code.
NANPA advised TRA in early 2013 the 615 area code was projected to run out of numbers by second quarter 2015 unless steps were taken to address the number shortage.
To gauge public sentiment of those in the affected areas, the TRA launched a campaign in the months leading up to the October decision to survey consumers on which option to implement to address the region’s number shortage.
The two options under consideration included split and overlay options. Of the about 3,000 consumers surveyed, the overlay option was chosen by 83 percent of the respondents who took part in the survey.
TRA officials said under the overlay option, all current 615 numbers would remain but require 10-digit dialing for local calls within the 615 area, as well as into the new 629 area code.
“The dialing habits of many consumers are accustomed to dialing 10-digits to complete a call. And because of this, we believed the best course of action was to pursue the Overlay option,” said TRA chairman Jim Allison at the time. “This will be the least disruptive of the two options and serve the Middle Tennessee area best in view of the growth the area is experiencing.”
Officials said phone calls currently treated as local calls will remain local calls, and calls that are treated as long distance calls will remain long distance calls.