Southeast Ohio will get new area code

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Parts of southeastern Ohio will be getting a new area code in 2015, state regulators said.

There aren't enough numbers in the current 740 area code to accommodate the demand, so the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio said it will have to introduce a new one, according to The Columbus Dispatch ( ).

The public utilities commission has begun to ask people for input on how the new code — the actual numbers haven't been introduced — should be added.

The state is looking at two options. The overlay option would allow those in the 740 area code to retain their number, but they'd have to use all 10 digits when calling within the area code. New numbers would be assigned the new area code.

The split plan would divide the geographic area in half, with half of them assigned the new area code.

The public will have until Nov. 27 to vote or comment on which option it prefers. The public utilities commission will then make a ruling and implement it.

The need for another area code is an indication of economic and population growth, said Bill LaFayette of the Columbus-based economics consulting firm Regionomics. A federal agency called the North American Numbering Program Administration says the 740 area code will run out of telephone numbers by early 2015.

The 740 area code split off from 614 in 1998. It's now used in most of southeastern Ohio and some areas around Columbus.