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Save the 208

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According to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, if preemptive measures aren't taken, the state will run out of 208 numbers in the middle of 2010.

But there's no need to start sending out notices of a new phone number just yet. The Federal Communication Commission granted the PUC the authority to order most of Idaho's communications companies to pool existing telephone numbers.

Now, phone companies across Idaho will have to do what those in the Treasure Valley have been required to do since 2002.

In the past, companies were assigned available telephone numbers in blocks of 10,000. While those numbers are quickly gobbled up by cell phones, messaging services and assorted other electronic widgets in the Boise area, the numbers often go unused outside the area.

According to the PUC, these stranded numbers have put the area code at risk, even though only 42.2 percent of Idaho numbers are in use.

Now, those companies will have to return all unused numbers and will only be doled out new ones in blocks of 1,000 as needed.

Viva la 208!