The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has set three local hearings in March 2020 to receive public comments on a proposed solution for resolving the exhaustion of available phone numbers in the 540 area code.
The federal regulatory authority responsible for resolving area code exhaustion, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), has recently filed an application with the SCC to begin the relief planning process. According to NANPA, subscriber growth and the expanding number of devices requiring phone numbers will exhaust the numbers available in this area code in 2022. The 540 area code was created in 1996, splitting off from the 804 area code which was nearing exhaustion at that time.
The solutions being considered for resolving the area code exhaustion include:
An all-services overlay: This would superimpose a newly assigned area code over the area currently covered by the existing 540 area code. The entire current 540 area would then be covered by both the 540 area code and the newly assigned area code.
A geographic split: This would carve the existing 540 area code zone into two separate areas. One region would retain the 540 area code and the other would convert to a newly assigned second area code.
A 540 and 434 overlay, or a 540 and 276 overlay: In both options, the current 434 area code area OR the current 276 area code area would be “combined” with the current 540 area code area. If approved, the near exhausted 540 area would be combined with areas in either the 434 or 276 area code.
Then those numbers would be assigned in areas of both 540 and 434; or the 540 and 276.
To allow for ample public opportunities to comment, the SCC has scheduled the following public hearings to receive comments from residents in the affected area code:
- March 3, 2020, at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., in the Roanoke City Council Chambers, Noel C. Taylor Municipal Building, 215 Church Avenue, S.W., Room 450, Roanoke
- March 4, 2020, at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., in the Rockingham County Administration Center, Board of Supervisors Meeting Room, 20 E. Gay Street, Harrisonburg
- March 5, 2020, at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., in the Warren County General District Court, Courthouse Square, 1 East Main Street, Front Royal
The hearing will continue in Richmond on May 6, 2020, at 10 a.m., in the Commission’s second-floor courtroom located in the Tyler Building at 1300 East Main Street.
Any person wishing to comment at any of the hearings should arrive early and sign in with the SCC bailiff. The SCC will webcast an audio stream of the Richmond hearing. Instructions for listening to the proceeding can be found online at www.scc.virginia.gov/case/webcast.aspx.
Written comments on the case must be submitted by April 29, 2020, and be sent to the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission, Document Control Center, P.O. Box 2118, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2118. Please refer to case number PUR-2019-00148 when commenting. Individuals may also submit comments online at www.scc.virginia.gov/case/PublicComments.aspx. Find case number PUR-2019-00148, and click on the “Submit Comments” button for this case.
For more information about this case, the Division of Public Utility Regulation has posted frequently asked questions related to area code exhaust and solutions.
Case Number PUR-2019-00148 – Ex Parte: In the matter of the Commission’s investigation into exhaust relief for the 540 area code.