October 31, 2002

Overlay Area Codes

Category: Wildcard

US PHONE SYSTEM: Here's a simple question - let's say you had to institute an unpopular change upon society. You can do something that annoys half the population temporarily, or something that annoys everyone permanently. What do you choose?

Well, some US states are choosing the second option by installing horrendously annoying "overlay" area codes when an existing code runs low on numbers. What this means is that 2 area codes are now present for the same geographic region, which means new numbers get the new code and old numbers stay the same. Problem is, everyone in that region now has to dial 10 digits to call anywhere.

Other states are choosing the traditional method of chopping up codes geographically. This means that half the people have to get new numbers in the new code, but the other half keep things as usual. As long as you dial in your local area you only have to dial the usual 7 digits.

Area codes can also help identify where you are, which is useful. The smaller the better in that case. And any self respecting Manhattanite will talk your ear off about the ego benefits of 212 vs. 646.

Here's a [useful map]

Posted by Nick at October 31, 2002 7:33 PM