Public comments on options for a new area code for Central New York

At a hearing Monday in Utica, the State Public Service Commission said that it could make a decision on establishing a new area code in Central New York as early as next month.

It was the first of three hearings this week on the proposal to add a new area code to the existing 315 area code.

Jeffrey Wagner told CNYcentral's Jim Kenyon that a new area code is "inevitable" because of all the new technology which has loaded up the 315 area code.

315 currently serves a 19 county area of Central New York and will run out of phone numbers in the year 2015.

Only 20 people showed up at the afternoon hearing in Utica. They expressed concerns about how a new area code could affect business advertising, force people to get new phone numbers, and dial digits to make a local call.

PSC must decide whether to assign the new area code by dividing the region geographically or whether to overlay the area code across the region.

Similar hearings are scheduled Tuesday in Watertown and on Wednesday in Syracuse. People have until August 16th to submit comments that will that a year and a half to implement a new area code.

State officials also told the people who attended the hearing that the federal communications commission is predicting the nation will soon run out of area codes which could complicate the situation further.