Tennessee Regulatory Authority officials announced Thursday a new 629 area code will be implemented in Wilson County and across Middle Tennessee.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator notified the TRA on Thursday residents could expect to see the new area code issued in spring 2015. The move comes 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.
NANPA advised TRA earlier this year 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 Thursday’s 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. “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 that are currently treated as local calls will remain local calls and calls that are treated as long distance calls will remain long distance calls.
The mission of the TRA is to promote the public interest by balancing the interests of utility consumers and providers. For more information on the TRA, visit tn.gov/tra.