Florida Public Service Commission FACT SHEET: 850 Area Code Relief Needed

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August 23, 2019
Florida Public Service Commission 
FACT SHEET: 850 Area Code Relief Needed
As the population and economy continue to grow in North Florida, available new telephone numbers using the 850 area code are depleting. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is reviewing relief plans for the 850 area code, including “All-Service Overlay” and “Boundary Elimination Overlay” alternatives.  
Why is Florida adding a new area code?
Florida’s 850 area code is running out of telephone numbers. A growing population along with new technologies that require telephone numbers are making the demand for new telephone numbers outpace the available supply.  
 
What is the “All-Service Overlay?”
An “all-service overlay” assigns a new area code to the same geographic region served by the existing depleted area code. 
 
Who will be affected in an All-Service Overlay?
All residents in the 850 area code geographic region will be impacted. This region consists of 18 counties in the Florida Panhandle, including the cities of Pensacola, Panama City, and Tallahassee. New customers would be assigned numbers with the new area code. Existing customers would keep their current telephone numbers; however, ten-digit local dialing by all customers would be required.
 
What is a “Boundary Elimination Overlay?”
A “boundary elimination overlay” deletes the boundaries between two or more area codes.  This would merge those existing area codes over the combined areas.
 
Who will be affected in a Boundary Elimination Overlay?
Everyone living in the geographic region of the combined area codes will be impacted.  Like an all-service overlay, ten-digit local dialing would be required by customers.
Can the public comment on the proposed area code plans?
The PSC has scheduled a workshop for the following time and location:
Friday, September 6, 2019
1:00 p.m., Betty Easley Conference Center
Joseph P. Cresse Hearing Room (Room 148)
4075 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, Florida
Any person who wants to comment or provide information to the Commission regarding this matter may do so orally at the workshop or in writing.* 
Written comments should be mailed to: Florida Public Service Commission, Office of Commission Clerk, 2540 Shumard Oak Boulevard ,Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850. The PSC will also accept emailed comments at: clerk@psc.state.fl.us.  Please be sure to include docket number, 20190135-TP. If you have questions, contact the PSC’s Office of Consumer Assistance & Outreach at 1-800-342-3552.
*Note: any email or other correspondence sent to a Florida Public Service Commissioner, or any other public official and/or employee of the PSC, in the transaction of public business is considered a public record and is subject to Florida’s Public Records Law. 
What will customers need to do, if the PSC approves an Overlay?
Dial 10 digits for all local calls within the overlay region.
Identify their telephone numbers as a 10-digit number, and include the area code when providing the number.
Ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment recognize the new area code as a valid area code, and continue to program telephone numbers with 10-digit telephone numbers.  Some examples include: stored phone numbers in contact lists in wireless and cordless phones, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, medical alert devices, safety alarm security systems and gates, ankle monitors, or other similar equipment.
Check their websites, business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business printed checks, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included.
 
If an Overlay is approved, what remains the same?
Customers’ telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change.
The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
Customers in the overlay region will dial 10 digits for local calls, and 1+10 digits for long distance calls and operator-assisted calls.
 
When will the PSC make a decision?
The PSC staff is scheduled to file a recommendation about the 850 area code relief plan with the Commission on October 24, 2019. The Commissioners are expected to vote on this matter at the November 5, 2019 Commission Conference.
 
For more information, call your current service provider or access your service provider’s website.  Or, you can call PSC Consumer Assistance at 1-800-342-3552.