Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

And in Other News… Austin Gets a New Area Code

Photo by TJ scenes via flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uncut/17446765/

Austinites should get ready for 737, a new area code for the city.

Earlier this morning, with the eyes of America focused keenly on whether the Texas Public Utility Commission would increase the price cap for electricity (oh yeah, and also that thing at the Supreme Court) the PUC made a decision that might fly under the radar.

It gave Austin another area code.

The 737 area code will be introduced to the area in July of 2013 because the supply of 512 numbers is running out.

“Out of the top ten fastest growing large cities six of them are in Texas, including Austin,” remarked PUC Chair Donna Nelson before the vote.  “With growth comes all sorts of unique opportunities and one of those is to have anew area code for Austin.”

The change means that central Texans will have to get used to dialing ten full digits even when dialing locally. That’s raised occasional concerns that the transition could be difficult for some local businesses. Though most business recently polled in a KUT News report didn’t appear concerned.

As that story point out: one change could be that people in Austin before the switch will now have the bragging rights that come with possessing a 512 number.

“If it’s anything like what happened in other cities,” Carlos Morales writes, “get ready for the 512 area code to become a badge of coolness and authenticity, separating longer-term residents from the emerging 737ers.”

PUC Commissioners, who have final say on whether to approve new area codes in the state, didn’t seem to think switching to a ten digit system would be too burdensome for Austinites.

“We’ve had ten digit dialing in North Texas for a long time,” said Commissioner Ken Anderson who hails from Dallas County.  “So welcome to the 21st century, Austin.”

Ten digit dialing will be phased in starting this December.


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