The 850 area code is expected to run out of phone numbers by 2022. Now, state officials are meeting with experts to decide what’s next. North American Numbering Plan Administrator oversees numbers for the United States, Canada, and some Caribbean countries. The group’s Heidi Wyman says the community will need a new area code.
“A new overlay area code would be added to serve the same geographic area as the 850 area code. All customers would retain their existing area code and telephone number after the overlay is introduced. New customers or new lines may be assigned from either 850 or the new overlay area code,” Wyman says.
Wyman says that plan would last for the next 40 years, but it would require people to dial an area code even when making a local call. The state’s public utility regulators are weighing several options for moving forward.
The 850 area code extends from Escambia County east to Madison County.