Advertisement

Illinois Commerce Commission announces new 861 area code for 309 region

The 861 area code will “overlay” the existing territory allowing for current phone customers to...
The 861 area code will “overlay” the existing territory allowing for current phone customers to keep the original 309 area code and the 861 area code will be assigned to new customers requesting local phone service, cellular and paging services, and alarms.(KWQC)
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 12:00 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) - The Illinois Commerce Commission announced Monday the addition of a new 861 area code to the counties and municipalities currently under 309 area code.

The 861 area code will “overlay” the existing territory in order to supplement the telephone number supply, the ICC said in a media release. The 861 area code will be available for assignment sometime during late 2022 or early 2023, as the 309 area code is approaching exhaust estimated to be in the fourth quarter of 2023.

An overlay takes the additional 861 area code and adds it to the same geographic area as the existing 309 area code, ICC said. All current phone customers keep the original area code and the 861 area code will be assigned to new customers requesting local phone service, cellular and paging services, and alarms.

The 309 area code, created in 1957, covers a large portion of northwestern and northcentral Illinois, including all or most of Peoria, McLean, Rock Island, Tazewell, Knox, Henry, Woodford, Fulton and McDonough counties. It also includes the cities of Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Moline, Rock Island, Pekin and Galesburg, among many others, the ICC said.

The Federal Communications Commission requires that all telephone calls made in the 309/861 overlay area will need to be completed by dialing the 10-digit number, ICC said. The change does not raise the cost of the call, regardless of the number of digits that are dialed to complete it a local call will still be a local call.

Currently, subscribers within the 309 area code can complete local calls by dialing only the seven-digit phone number.

ICC said the National Numbering Administrator will convene a meeting of representatives from the telecommunications companies in the 309/861 area code to create an implementation timeline for the new area code in Dec.

The implementation period will be at least nine months long and will allow for telecommunications networks and switches to be updated and modified to identify and recognize the new code and to establish the necessary routing to complete calls, ICC said in a media release. There will also be a period of public outreach and education, to familiarize everyone with the new area code.

The ICC said an update will be given when the timeline for implicating the 861 area code is set giving specific details.

Carriers are currently in the process of implementing and enforcing mandatory 10 digit dialing in preparation for the “988″ National Suicide Prevention Hotline, ICC said. This dialing pattern will have been in effect for several months before the new 861 area code is introduced.

The FCC issued the 988 nationwide Suicide Prevention hotline in July 2020 and is scheduled to take effect in July 2022.

For the 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline to work properly all local numbers will switch to a 10-digital dial and seven-digit local dialing will no longer function, allowing for the 861 overlay to function within the area.

The ICC said in August, the NANPA sent a letter to the Commission, advising the 309 area code will be coming to an exhaust point, leading to the need for a new area code, it was advised that this process takes place within ninety days of the notice.

Copyright 2021 KWQC. All rights reserved.