New Idaho area code

Some time in 2016 Idaho is scheduled to receive another area code. I am wondering how my fellow Idahoans feel about this. Should existing phone numbers get to keep 208 and have all new numbers use the new area code number or should the state be divided, and have half of us be issued the new number?

I am in favor of all new numbers getting the new code. I don’t like the idea of splitting the state. 208 IS Idaho. I think all of us should get to keep it and have all new numbers get the new code.

Does anyone know what the new code will be?

What say you, fellow Idaho Dopers?

Having lived through these debates here in Illinois, several times over…

If all of your current numbers keep 208, and all new numbers get assigned the new area code, you’ll be using what the phone companies call an “overlay” system. One drawback to this, as was pointed out here when we were adding area codes, is that an overlay means that you need to dial 1+area code for every call you make, even “local” calls (on which, up until now, you’ve only needed to dial the 7-digit number).

Mona it is your lucky day. You actually get to vote on whether they do a geographic split or give the new area code to new numbers only. I would be surprised if they actually do what the voters decide though.

article with link to voting site

While a geographic split would seem to make sense to me (it’s called an “area” code, after all) when it has happened in places I’ve lived in the past we went to “overlay”/10 digit dialing.


The site is available for comments, not votes. Sorry.
But it does say that they are most likely going to assign the new area code to new numbers only.

A while back (well, a long time back now, I guess), Milwaukee as well as the surrounding counties all had the same area code. The eventually introduced a second area code. Milwaukee kept the “original” one and the surrounding counties got the new one. Yes, the ‘non milwaukee’ people all had to deal with the fall out of learning a new area code, but IMO, it does make more sense. If someone says their from Milwaukee, I know their area code is 414, one of the other counties, it’s 262. If it were mixed, I’d have to ask every.single.person, what their area code is.

Think about it that way. Do you want to have to ask EVERYONE for their area code or just know it based on where they live? Personally, I’d rather just know it based on where they live (plus since most people you come in contact with are geographically close to you, unless you’re near the border, most people will have your area code so you won’t have to ask anyways).

Yeah, and Idaho has a bunch of people who live in the south of the state, a bunch of people who live up in the panhandle and a whole lot of nothing in between, so it seems like a north/south area code split would be a no-brainer. Or just a Boise and everyone else split.

Didn’t the concept of area codes being for people in a particular area die with cell phones? How can you “just know” someone’s area code unless you know where they were when they got their phone number?

Maybe it’s time to just get rid of area codes and have ten-digit phone numbers.

Based on my experience, maybe for a little while you grouse a little about it, but eventually you learn that your phone number is ten digits long. There is no need to actually ask anyone for their area code, because everyone just automatically gives you all ten digits without being asked. This habit is reinforced by the fact that you have to dial all ten digits even when calling locally.

After a while it just becomes a no-brainer. In fact it seems a bit quaint to think that we once had 7 digit phone numbers and that, when asked for a phone number, we used to just give out 7 digits.

In any case, nobody dials the phone anymore. They just enter the phone numbers of their friends and associated once into their directory and then scroll through the directory for their name when they need to call them. Yes, I know you can’t do this if you are a business getting calls from random strangers.

Trust me, it will not be a problem.

That’s the thing, either way, you’ll get used to it after a few weeks. I’m was suggesting that it might be easier to do it geographically. Looking at wiki, 25% of Idaho is in Boise. You could leave them with the original area code and give the rest of the state a new one (a bigger version of what we did in Milwaukee years ago). Most people still use 7 digit numbers but know that if they’re giving their number to someone in/out of Boise they have to give the area code as well.

Looking at wiki, it says that Milwaukee is one of the largest cities to not have an overlay. Reading up on an overlay, it explains that one of the reasons they’re used is because it keeps the telcos from having to reprogram all the phones with new numbers and saving all the businesses from having to reprint all new materials.

In the end it comes down to, do you want your neighbor to have the same number as you or do you want to risk getting a new number?

As a person, I’d rather everyone in my area had the same number. If I were a business owner, I could see the advantage in keeping the same number and not being as concerned about everyone else. I have business cards, magnets, pads of papers scattered all over town. My number is not just on my web page and my facebook page but also on sites that I don’t totally control like Yelp and other review sites.

But like I said, either way, everyone figures it out.

If there’s a new area code, it’s probably going to be an overlay. There’s only been one split in the last decade but there have been a lot of overlays just since 2011.

Well speaking as a Southern Idahoan (also known as northern Utah) I think it should be just split somewhere around Boise. After all north and south Idaho really are like different countries anyway. Why I hear up there they can actually do things that the Mormon Church doesn’t approve of.

Thank you for all of the responses. I prefer an overlay because I don’t want to change numbers. It seems to me to be the best option.

You’ll get used to it almost immediately. We’ve had overlays here in MA for a long time. I don’t remember anyone complaining about it. It’s much better than having to change your number.

A change that is hard to get used to is when local TV stations change their network affiliations. Our NBC and CBS stations swapped affiliations a few decades ago and many people can’t remember which one is which even now. “The game is on NBC.” “Is that 4 or 7?” “No idea.”

Anymore the “area code” is really just the first three numbers of your ten digit phone number. Get used to it.

Either way, you’re going to lose the unique association between “208” and Idaho. Either the state will be split into two regions, in case the other region is no longer going to have an association with 208. Or you’re going to have an overlay, in which case every new number will be a non-208 number—people with non-208 numbers are not going to feel a connection with “208.”

Here’s another vote for it being a non-issue.

In the two cities where I’ve spent most of my life, we have had both splits and overlays. In Houston, the area code was originally 713, and then they split everything outside of the Sam Houston Tollway (more or less) into the 281 area code. Then a few years later, they overlaid the 832 area code over the whole shebang, and now they’re adding the 346 code as an overlay to the other three.

D/FW was pretty similar, in that you had 214 and 817 for the eastern half (Dallas)and western half(Fort Worth) of the Metroplex, respectively. Then at some point, 972 was split off to reflect the outer parts of the eastern half of the metroplex, and then 469 was overlaid over that area. On the western side, 817 was originally Fort Worth, and then 682 was overlaid.

So Houston has 4 area codes, Dallas has 3, and Fort Worth has 2. At no point has any of this ever been an issue; everyone just switched to 10 digit dialing without any problem that I’m aware of. Even old-timers didn’t seem to have any issues.

So… are the people of Idaho going to have one area code each?

I hope like heck they assign 666 as the new area code. It’ll drive the preppers & Freemen on the Land types right into a frothing seizure. Or more of one than they’re already in.

See xkcd: Cell Number

I’ve had my phone number for a long time and am very careful about who I give it to. When I got it, the phone store rep showed me a list, pointing out the highlighted numbers, which she was certain I would not want. I chose one of the highlighted numbers; it has 5 sixes, including three consecutive, not counting the area code.

Every so often I give my number and have the person go :eek: