618 area code to be changed, another added
Wednesday, December 5, 2001
CHICAGO -- The Illinois Commerce Commission on Tuesday started wheels in motion to add another area code to the large part of the state now served by 618.
But it will be at least one year before some callers in the 618 area -- which stretches across the bottom third of Illinois -- must learn a new code.
And when they do, they likely won't have to dial 11 digits to call across the street, as many had expected, commission spokeswoman Beth Bosch said.
That is because the five-member commission ex-pressed at their meeting Tuesday their preference for splitting the 618 area code in two, leaving 618 in place in one half and replacing it with a new code in the other, Bosch said.
The alternative would have been an "overlay" model, in which new phone numbers in the 618 region would be given a new code and everyone in the region would have to dial 11 digits -- 1 plus the area code and phone number -- regardless of where they lived or were calling.
Many believed the commission was leaning toward that model, said Martin Cohen, director of the Citizens Utility Board consumer group.
Instead, the commission asked an administrative law judge to draft an order to introduce a new code under the "geographic split" method but will not vote on the measure until public meetings are held early next year, Bosch said. None have been scheduled yet.