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Dial 561? Palm Beach County could be poised for new area code

NANPA recommends overlay of 561 area code before numbers run out
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 1:21 PM EDT
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Palm Beach County could soon be getting a new area code.

The 561 area code is "running out of prefixes" and is projected to expire by the third quarter of 2023, according to Heidi Wayman, a data manager for the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, which oversees the implementation of new area codes throughout the U.S.

Wayman said part of NANPA's responsibilities include informing states about any recommended area code changes 36 months prior to the projected exhaust of numbers.

NANPA notified the Florida Public Service Commission on Friday that the 561 area code "is in need of relief."

Wayman said that, because of the recent transition to 10-digit dialing, the only option for relief is an overlay of the 561 area code, meaning no current numbers would be affected, but any new numbers would have the new area code that would be used over the existing designated geographic location.

In 2002, the 561 area code was nearing exhaust and the Public Service Commission approved a geographic split, introducing the 772 area code, which was assigned to the Treasure Coast.

The 561 area code began in 1996 in a split from the 407 area code, now commonly associated with the Orlando area.

SOUTH FLORIDA AREA CODES AT A GLANCE

CountyArea CodeInception YearOrigin
Palm Beach5611996Split from 407
Broward954, 7541995, 2001Split from 305, Overlay of 954
Miami-Dade305, 7861947, 1998Original, Overlay of 305

What three digits would be assigned as Palm Beach County's new area code? Wayman said the new number was set aside by NANPA many years ago to protect against "dialing conflict," but it remains confidential until the state approves the recommendation.

Would there be any reason for the Public Service Commission to reject the proposal? Wayman said she has "not seen that" in her time with the agency.

"Ultimately, the decision is up to the Florida commission," she added.

A change in area codes is nothing new for South Florida, which has seen an increase through the years.

The 305 area code currently associated with Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys was one of the original 86 area codes created in 1947. It initially covered the entire state.

Miami-Dade County's second 786 area code was introduced as an overlay in 1998.

Broward County's 954 area code split from area code 305 in 1995. The 754 area code in Broward County was activated in 2001 and began use the following year.

NANPA has filed a petition recommending that the Public Service Commission grant the request no later than Feb. 28, 2022.

A virtual public workshop to discuss the matter is scheduled for Nov. 5.

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