Idaho's Public Utilities Commission says a transition to a second area code and 10-digit dialing is happening sooner rather than later and the public needs to know the details.
Voluntary 10-digit dialing—dialing a one plus the area code and number even for calls inside Idaho—begins November 2016 and mandatory 10-digit dialing starts August 2017.
It was November 2015 when Boise Weekly first reported that the Gem State would soon be getting a second area code—986—and while some people have talked about it, it's a fair bet that most Idahoans don't know it's coming their way very soon. The 986 area code will be issued to all new telephone numbers and will not require a change in rates. Idaho is one of a handful of states that still has only one area code—208—issued in 1947. The PUC said 10-digit dialing "will eventually drive seven-digit dialing into obsolescence." Neustar, the agency administering the nation's area code system, had indicated Idaho would run out of viable phone numbers in August 2001, but the PUC used a variety of plans to delay the depletion of phone numbers until 2017.
A series of customer workshops, explaining the change, are set to take place across the state. In the Treasure Valley, a workshop concerning the transition is slated for Tuesday, October 4, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission offices at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise.