WISCREPORT.COM (10/16/07) - The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is holding public hearings this week in various Wisconsin communities to answer questions and to gather public comments on relief plans for the 920 area code.
Hearings are being held in Sheboygan, Sturgeon Bay, Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, and Watertown. The PSC will determine how a new area code can be added in the 920 area to relieve increased phone use.
In recent years, the prevalence of technology in everyday life has increased tremendously, causing an elevated demand for telecommunications services. This rapid growth of the telecommunications industry has resulted in nearly all telephone number prefixes in the 920 area code to be assigned, causing area code exhaustion for 920 to occur in 2010.
The PSC is not exploring whether to undertake area code relief or not, as a relief plan is necessary to continue service for all providers and customers. However, the PSC will determine how a new area code will be implemented.
There are two methods used to provide area code relief Ė a geographic split or an overlay. With both methods, there is no change to the prices to make phone calls.
With a geographic split, the area served by the existing area code would be split into two smaller areas. One of the sections would retain the existing area code while the other section would receive a new area code. Local calls within each area code would be dialed using 7 digits.
With an overlay, a new area code would be introduced within the same geographic region now served by the 920 area code. All current customers would keep their current area code and telephone number, while new customers could receive a new area code.
With an overlay, the Federal Communications Commission requires that all calls be dialed using the area code.
The PSC is encouraging citizens to attend one of the public hearings and provide comments on the area code relief efforts. Public comments on the 920 area code relief plan will be included in the record the Commission will review in preparing to make a decision.
Anyone who cannot attend the public hearings, but would like to provide comments, can do so on the PSCís website at http://psc.wi.gov through November 2nd. Click on the Public Comments button on the PSCís homepage and click on the case title. You can also mail comments to the PSC.
The PSC is also considering relief for the 715 area code. Public hearings in the 715 area were held in September 2007. (See separate story.)