The Iowa Utilities Board is pushing back the start date for the new 6-4-1 area code. “Voluntary” use is being moved from June 1st to July 9th. “Required” use had been scheduled to start September 1st, but Iowans won’t be forced to use the new area code ’til December 3rd. Utilities Board spokesman Chuck Seel says businesses now have more time to prepare for the change.Seel says there’s a lot of work involved for some companies to make the change.One other change will move the 6-4-1 border to keep Prairie City in the 5-1-5 exchange. Seel says it likely won’t make others happy who requested that they be allowed to stay, too. But, he says Prairie City made a good case before the board about the economic impact of the change.The new code is being carved out of the current 5-1-5 area code to meet an increasing demand for new numbers for cell phones, computers and fax machines. Seel says both the 5-1-5 code and the new 6-4-1 code are projected to run out of numbers in about eight years. He says there are several variables which could change that projection, such as a ruling by the FCC that changes the way phone numbers are allocated.Seel says a telephone industry committee is preparing an education campaign to help people prepare for their new area code.
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