The state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) announced on Monday that a new area code will be introduced later this year in Connecticut, in the calling region currently served by the 860 area code.
Because of continuing local demand for telephone numbers, remaining unassigned telephone numbers in the 860 area code are expected to be exhausted by the end of 2014. PURA approved a new area code, 959, to be assigned as an overlay to the 860 region to meet the demand.
An overlay is the addition of an area code, in this case 959, to the same geographic region as an existing area code (860). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code, personal telephone numbers, or the manner in which they dial local calls.
PURA has been working since mid-2013 with an industry stakeholder group to oversee the orderly implementation of the new 959 area code. Current plans call for the new 959 area code to go into effect August 30, 2014. After that date, customers requesting new service, an additional line, or in some cases, moving their service may be assigned a number in the new 959 area code.
For most customers, the new area code should have minimal impact. Existing telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change; customers will continue to dial area code + telephone number for local calls, and 1 + area code + telephone number for long distance calls; local calling areas will remain the same; prices for calls and coverage areas will not change due to the overlay; and customers will still dial services such as 911 (211, 411, 811, etc) with just three digits, the agency said on March 3.
During and after the transition, customers should continue to identify their telephone number as a ten-digit number (area code + seven digits), and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates and others. Customers should also ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, and other types of equipment recognize 959 as a valid area code. Some examples are life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. Likewise, customers will be encouraged to check business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in the stated telephone number.
Customers should contact their respective carriers with questions about the new area code, and can check PURA’s website for periodic updates.