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Marin’s ‘415’ identity may need some modification

Marin’s ‘415’ identity may need some modification

Marin County

San Rafael City Councilman Damon Connolly has previously said that the ‘415’ area code is part of Marin County‘s identity. However, that may soon be coming to an end. Marin County residents could be required to adopt a new area code as soon as October 2015.

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the current volume of 415 phone number prefixes expect to be used by then. This will necessitate adding the new 628 area code.

CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow says there are public meetings scheduled for next month to discuss the issue. These meetings will be used to determine exactly what effect this change will have on businesses and residents.

Chow further explains, “the effects depend on whether the new area code represents a split geographically or an overlay.”

With a split, a part of the geographic area retains area code 415, while other area is assigned a different area code, currently believed to be 628. However, an overlay means that new numbers within the current 415 geographic area would be assigned the new area code, meaning the new area code would not have any sense of geographic area.

An overlay approach has been used to add new area codes before.

Councilman Connolly added that this wasn’t the first time the issue has come up in Marin County. During the previous 10 years, the CPUC has floated the idea of adding an area code, but was greeted with strong resistance from residents.

Previous claims of number shortages turned out to be incorrect when these claims were further investigated.

A change of this magnitude could create costly issues for some businesses, eg., reprogramming networks or purchasing new letterhead. One Marin County company, Autodesk, didn’t appear to be too concerned with the potential modifications needed.

“The phone has become less important for us,” said company spokesman Noah Cole.  “More and more communication is handled online and over the Internet.”

Had this change been necessary 5 years ago, it would probably have a significantly greater impact.

Scheduled Public Meetings

  1. Jan. 16, 7pm – CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco.
  2. Jan. 17, 2pm – San Rafael City Council Chambers, 1400 Fifth Ave., San Rafael.
  3. Jan. 17, 7pm – San Rafael City Council Chambers, 1400 Fifth Ave., San Rafael.

Written comments will be accepted:

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