Area codes may soon no longer be linked to geographic areas

Companies want access to unused number

Author: Tara Evans, Producer, tevans@wkmg.com
Published On: Apr 02 2013 12:30:02 PM EDT

Most of us recognize callers as being from certain geographic areas right when we see the numbers, all because of usually unique area codes. That may soon be a thing of the past.

That is because Voice-over-Internet providers like Vonage Holdings Corp. want direct access to a national pool of unused numbers. According to The Washington Post, that would allow them to end reliance on middlemen tied to area codes, and introduce more freedom in assigning numbers.

The issue for some here is that many are attached to the significance of their area code numbers. Take New York, for example. In Manhattan, the coveted 212 area code signifies a business or residence in Manhattan, and not one of the other boroughs. It also, in many cases, signifies a long-time residence in the Big Apple, or longstanding business tenure. New Yorkers find that area code far more glamorous than more recent offerings, like 347.

By the same token, here in Central Florida, for example, you would no longer be able to be sure that callers from 407 are, in fact, local.

The reason for the change has little to do with wanting to branch out as far as that goes, but the proposal to the Federal Communications Commission is reportedly more about ensuring all communications entities have access to unused numbers.

Others speculate the move could also end up being a way to make a profit; in the case of the 212 area code in particular, you could potentially be able to pay a fee to ensure the area code you want.