Sherry Carcone doesn’t want to part with her 315 area code.
The 50-year-old Forestport resident worries about family members from out of state, especially those who are getting older and might not be able to remember a new area code.
“To have to change all that is crazy,” she said. “We all live in 315; we should have the same number.”
But Carcone and other residents of the Mohawk Valley might not have a choice.
With the number of available phone numbers dwindling, state Public Service Commission officials have proposed creating a new area code for the 18 Central New York counties, including Herkimer and Oneida — a process that began in 2007.
The commission is asking for public input on how to go about implementing the change and recently extended the public comment until July 31.
Earlier this year, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator indicated that the 315 area code would be out of numbers by the first quarter of 2015 at the latest, not 2010 as originally predicted.
The change might be inevitable due to poor planning and poor distribution of numbers, said State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome.
“I think it’s imperative that the people understand exactly what the options are which would be imposed here and they have an opportunity to express themselves,” he said.
The options? Overlay or geographic.
With the overlay option, a new area code would be issued for new phones, therefore having two different area codes serving the region. This would require the use of 10-digit dialing for all calls within the same code boundary, but would allow current customers to retain their numbers.
The geographic option divides the existing area code in two and assigns a new code for one of the regions. When split geographically, the dominant area would keep its area code, so the Mohawk Valley would likely have to change while Syracuse could keep 315, Griffo said.
Administrative Law Judge Howard Jack issued a Recommended Decision in 2008 in favor of the overlay option as “more fair and equitable,” according to the commission website.
Once selected, a new code would be introduced in phases including educational campaigns for customers. It probably will take effect within a year and a half, Griffo said.
Pamela Matt, executive director of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, urged businesses to respond to the survey.
“Business owners should think about it themselves and how this would affect them,” she said.
Area businesses would have to change everything from their number on their website and social media pages to publications and business cards.
It also might affect branding, Matt said.
Page 2 of 2 - “When you’re reaching out to someone in the 315, you have an image of where that business is. You’re going to lose that image,” she said.
Having three different phone number prefixes already poses some operational issues for Mohawk Valley Community College with inter-office calls between the Utica and Rome campuses, said Matthew Snyder, college director of marketing and communications.
Adding a second area code to the mix could be confusing to some people, and would require the college to change all of its directory materials, publications and website, Snyder said.
Diane Randazzo, 50, of Alder Creek, has a 315 area code, but she wouldn’t mind a new area code.
“It really doesn’t matter to me,” she said. “As long as I know I had to change.”