In early September, the city’s Public Service Commission held a virtual public hearing to discuss the looming end to any new numbers with the city’s 73-year-old area code. As in many other localities nationwide, burgeoning cellular usage and population have dried up almost all of the 7 million original numbers once available under its original area code.
At the hearing, a D.C. resident urged officials to choose an area code representative of the city’s history. But the North American Number Plan Administrator (NANPA) has control over appointing area codes and does so based on methodology established decades ago.
“We are required to reserve a backup area code for any area code that we see is going to exhaust within the next 10 years,” said Beth Sprague, director of NANPA. “So a lot of this was put in place almost 20 years ago.”
The 771 area code implementation process will begin once industry players meet and determine a schedule for the 13-month plan, Sprague said.
The new area code is D.C.’s second in its history.