Why you’ll soon have to dial at least 10 digits and what’s next

Changes are coming to how Sacramento makes phone calls starting Feb. 10. Here’s a look at the new 279 area code overlay, and where the next changes will happen.
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Changes are coming to how Sacramento makes phone calls starting Feb. 10. Here’s a look at the new 279 area code overlay, and where the next changes will happen.
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Your days of dialing seven digits are numbered, Sacramento. Get ready for the 279

By Tony Bizjak

tbizjak@sacbee.com

January 02, 2018 11:23 AM

Starting this spring, no longer can every Sacramentan claim to live in the “916.”

People in the six-county Sacramento region who sign up for new telephone numbers starting on March 10 may be assigned a new area code: 279.

The California Public Utilities Commission said population growth and proliferation of cell devices have nearly maxed out available 916 numbers.

The changes will, however, make local phone calls a bit more of a hassle this spring.

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Starting on Feb. 10, the state will require people in the Sacramento region to dial the 916 area code in order to make a local call. Local callers also will have to dial a 1 before the area code if they are using a land line. Cellphone users also will have to dial 916 as of that date, but are not required to dial 1.

“If customers do not use the new dialing procedure, their calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct them to hang up and dial again,” the PUC says in an online update.

The area code serves parts of El Dorado, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties.

The 916 area code was created in 1947 as one of the original three area codes in California. There currently are about 8 million telephone numbers in the 916 area.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak