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Combinations running out in 570 area code, says PUC

Published January 21. 2010 05:00PM

In about a year-and-a-half, telephone area code 570 is expected to run out of numbers.

As a result, it's likely that there will be an overlay for the 570 and 814 area codes, which would create new area codes in both regions.

Area code 814 covers a wide area of the state, including Altoona, Erie, and Punxsutawney. Area code 570 covers Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Scranton, Williamsport, Pottsville, Wellsboro, and Stroudsburg.

This would mean that new telephone customers within the two area codes would have a new area code assigned to them.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall.

The 570 area code isn't the only one running short on numbers. Area code 717 will be filled with number combinations by the third quarter of 2012. A new area code is also being proposed for the 717 area, which includes Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Carlisle.

Jennifer Kocher, press secretary for the PUC, said individuals having prepared statements or comments should bring extra copies of their remarks to the PUC hearing.

She suggested that for the hearing:

• Prepare what you are going to say beforehand. Even though it is not required, you may want to write out your statement, which can be read.

• Bring copies. If you have a written statement you would like to give to the judge as evidence, please bring two copies for the court reporter and several copies for other participants.

• Plan to be questioned. Parties in the case may want to ask you a question to clarify something you said.

The hearing will be conducted by Administrative Law Judge Ember S. Jandebeur. It is one of four hearings scheduled. Others, all during the first week in February, are in Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, and Scranton.

Area Code 570 has been in existence since December 1998 when it was split from the 717 area code. At that time, area code 717 was running out of numbers. As a result, 717 was retained in the Harrisburg and Lancaster areas, while the rest of the 717 area was assigned the 570 area code.

Kocher said it hasn't definitely been decided whether an overlay will occur.

She said there are four relief alternatives for ensuring adequate number resources. They include an overlay of a new area code and various geographic splits of the existing area code running east to west, north to south, or northeast to southeast.

She said the public is encouraged to attend the Feb. 2 meeting.

"Customer testimony will become part of the record on which the PUC will issue its final decision," she said.

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