Local News

Officials have begun accepting public comment on a request to create a new telephone area code for southern and south-central Indiana.

Anthony Swinger with the state Office of Utility Consumer Counselor says it’s projected that the 812 area code will run out of numbers in 2015.

“Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Indiana was divided up into three area codes, and 812 is the last of the three original area codes that needs long term relief,” Swinger said.

The telecommunications industry has filed a request to add an “overlay” area code to the 812 region. That means all current 812 customers would keep their numbers but the new code would be assigned to new customers or new devices.

Another option would be a geographic split, in which some existing customers would keep their current numbers while others would be assigned new numbers with the new area code.

Swinger says the geographic split has been rarely used in the U.S. in recent years, but unlike the overlay, it would not require ten-digit dialing for local calls.

The OUCC is expected to respond to the request in May, 2013.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."