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Economy / Business

Make Room, 813: New Area Code Coming For Hillsborough, Parts Of Pinellas And Pasco

map of Florida area codes
Hillsborough and parts of Pinellas and Pasco counties will be getting a new area code.

State regulators voted Tuesday to create a new area code for Hillsborough County and parts of Pinellas and Pasco counties. That's because the county is set to run out of telephone numbers in two years.

Area Code 813 has been around since the middle of the 20th century. It was the second area code in Florida, after 305, and at one time covered the entire west coast of Florida. But the addition of so many -- at first -- pagers, faxes and then cell phones means they're running out of numbers.

Florida Public Service Commissioners chose to enact a new overlay to 813. Existing telephone customers will keep their numbers, but new customers -- or anyone adding additional lines -- will receive the new area code. It also means anyone in the county will have to dial the area code plus the seven-digit phone number to make local calls.

“As one of the most populous areas of Florida, Hillsborough County has thriving businesses and growing communities. Add all the new technologies that require telephone numbers to this, and it’s not surprising that a new area code is needed,” said PSC Chairman Gary Clark in a prepared statement.

“The approved overlay plan is customer-friendly. Current customers can keep their existing number, which is especially important to area businesses, and the six-month permissive dialing period will allow time for residents to adjust to 10-digit dialing.”

Phone numbers in Florida and throughout the United States are governed by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA).  In April 2019, NANPA forecasted a need for 813 area code relief.  An industry meeting was held on September 16, 2019, and NANPA then filed a petition with the PSC favoring the “all-services distributed overlay plan.”  PSC staff held customer workshops in February in Tampa and St. Petersburg to hear directly from customers.

They forecast that the 813 area code would run out in 2022. With the new area code, the region isn’t expected to face the need for another area code for 37 years.

The 813 region is centered on Tampa and includes surrounding communities such as Brandon, Land O' Lakes, Oldsmar, Riverview, Thonotosassa, Town 'n' Country, Valrico and Zephyrhills.

The new area code, which will be issued to new phone customers and customers adding lines, will be assigned by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, an agency that governs phone numbers across the United States. All local calls in the area ultimately will require 10-digit dialing.

The process should take about a year. The number hasn't been chosen yet.

A similar overlay was approved last year for the current 850 area code, which covers 18 counties and is used in cities such as Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola. The new area code, 448, is expected to start in 2021 in that region.

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Area code map
Credit Florida Public Service Commission
Area code map