TALLAHASSEE, Florida – State regulators on Tuesday approved the creation of an additional area code in northeast Florida, as cellphones and other devices continue to gobble up existing numbers.
The Florida Public Service Commission has backed a plan designed to relieve the 904 area code, which is expected to run out of numbers in 2024.
“Northeast Florida continues to grow at a breakneck pace, a tribute to its thriving communities and beautiful beaches,” Public Service Commission Chairman Andrew Fay said in a prepared statement after the panel vote. “With popularity comes the need to meet the demand for new and additional phone lines. To meet this demand, we are approving a new area code that will replenish the supply of numbers in this area.
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The plan involves what is known in the telecommunications industry as an “overlay”. An area code will be added to the same territory covered by area code 904, with new customers receiving the new code. Existing customers will keep their numbers, although local 10-digit dialing is required.
The changes are expected to be made over a 13-month period, with the first six months needed to prepare telecommunications networks, according to an analysis by Civil Service Commission staff. The three digits of the new area code have not been announced.
Area code 904 has been in use since 1965, when area code 305 needed relief, and includes communities such as Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, Orange Park, Macclenny, and Starke.
While it originally covered all of North Florida, parts of area code 904 have been split over the years to create area codes 352, 850 and 386, according to analysis by staff of the commission.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator, an organization that oversees area codes, filed the new Northeast Florida proposal in February. This came after state regulators in recent years approved a slew of other additional area codes across the state.
On February 1, the commission approved an additional area code for Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys due to the expected exhaustion of numbers in area codes 305 and 786. This new area code will be 645.
“As Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys continue to attract new residents from across our country and around the world, the new 645 area code will ensure that demand for new lines is met,” Fay said in February.
The commission in December approved a new area code in Palm Beach County and, in recent years, new codes in central Florida, northwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area.