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Available 540 area codes will run out in 2022

4 March 2020 Luray/Page County Shenandoah County Front Royal/Warren County Winchester Frederick County Clarke County News

Phone numbers available in the 540 area code are quickly running out as the region continues to grow.

The federal regulatory authority responsible for resolving area code exhaustion, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), has recently filed an application with the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to begin the relief planning process. According to NANPA, subscriber growth and the expanding number of devices requiring phone numbers will exhaust the numbers available in this area code in 2022. The 540 area code was created in 1996, splitting off from the 804 area code that was nearing exhaustion at that time.

The solutions being considered for resolving the area code exhaustion include:

  • An all-services overlay: This would superimpose a newly assigned area code over the area currently covered by the existing 540 area code. The entire current 540 area would then be covered by both the 540 area code and the newly assigned area code.
  • A geographic split: This would carve the existing 540 area code zone into two separate areas. One region would retain the 540 area code and the other would convert to a newly assigned second area code.
  • A 540 and 434 overlay, or a 540 and 276 overlay: In both options, the current 434 area code area OR the current 276 area code area would be “combined” with the current 540 area code area. If approved, the near exhausted 540 area would be combined with areas in either the 434 or 276 area code. Then those numbers would be assigned in areas of both 540 and 434; or the 540 and 276.

The public is invited to comment on the issue at a hearing tomorrow, March 5, at 2:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Warren County General District Court in Front Royal.

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