ICC to Consider Conserving Numbers in 847 Area Code

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Byline: Lorilyn Rackl Daily Herald Staff Writer

North and Northwest suburban residents dreading another area code invasion got some help Friday from the Illinois Commerce Commission.

A hearing officers' report filed with the state agency late Friday recommends that phone companies immediately start conserving phone numbers to stave off the need for another area code in the 847 region.

"It's a very, very positive sign of the commission's intent to apply the brakes to the industry's hogging of phone numbers," said Seamus Glynn, Citizens Utility Board associate director.

Industry experts had warned the stockpile of phone numbers in the 847 area code - little more than two years old - could be depleted this year.

CUB asked the ICC last year to force phone companies to pool their unassigned phone numbers and dole them out in smaller increments to ward off the need for another area code.

The hearing officers' report, which will go to state commissioners for a vote, went on to say that if number pooling and conservation methods fail to blunt the need for another area code, a new "all-service overlay" area code should go into effect in the 847 region. Once the 847 numbers were used up, customers would be given a new area code.

That means residents getting a second line could have two different area codes in their home.

An overlay area code also requires 11-digit dialing (1 plus the area code and number) throughout the overlaid region. …