December 13, 2017
As we prepare to enter 2018, the concept of area codes in the cell phone age may seem antiquated, even if they're a useful geographic indicator of where to trace incoming calls.
Then again, there once was a time when human operators directed calls based on an alphanumeric system that included actual names.
At the start of the new year, after months of preparation, New Jersey will introduce a new 640 area code to account for dwindling 609 and 856 numbers, the state Board of Public Utilities confirmed on Wednesday. The overlay will be handled by Neustar, Inc., the North American Numbering Plan Administrator.
“We know it might be a cause for concern, so we want to make sure there is a smooth transition to the new area code,” said board president Richard S. Mroz, NJBPU. “Thus, the Board and Neustar are reaching out to residents, businesses and government agencies across the area to inform all of the necessary steps to being prepared. These efforts have been ongoing with police, fire, and other emergency first responders to make sure emergency systems are prepared. It’s now time for resident and business to make any needed updates to their systems.”
Assignment of the new 640 numbers will not officially begin until Sept. 17, when new lines or services may be issued the area code.
Once the change takes effect, residents will have to dial an area code for all calls, even if they're dialing to an area with the same area code. They will only have to dial a one for calls to numbers outside the 609, 856 and 640 areas.
The board recommends that consumers make all appropriate changes for services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment programmed to dial only a seven-digit number from the 609 area code.
In the vast majority of cases, the new area code will only noticeably impact those who receive a 640 number.
Someday, they may even be as prideful about these digits as Manhattaners are about the original 212.