The supply of new telephone numbers in the 3-1-9 area code is running out faster than expected. Iowa Utilities Board Spokesman Rob Hillesland says the new numbers will run out nine months earlier than originally projected. The Utilities Board is already in the midst of determining how to handle the situation.Hillesland says they’re ahead in the process and the updated projection shouldn’t impact the process. Hillesland says they’ve already completed 10 public hearings on what to do with the 3-1-9 area code. The board just recently went through the same process for the 5-1-5 area code. He says they’ve gotten more input on the 3-1-9 situation, which may be due to the publicity surrounding the 5-1-5 area code.The board has two options, one is an overlay that gives customers a new area code when the 3-19 numbers are depleted. Or, the board could split off part of the 3-1-9 zone into a new area code. Hillesland says there’s been some recent sentiment toward the overlay approach, but it’s not the favorite at this point as he says the split option is ahead 60 to 40 percent.Hillesland says they’ll continue taking written public comments through June. They’ll then have the final public hearing in August, and could make a decision by October.
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