Fayetteville and the rest of Southeastern North Carolina will be getting a new 472 area code starting in the middle of 2022, as the region is poised to run out of 910 phone numbers.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved that all new phone numbers created in late 2022 will start with 472 in the area that currently has 910 numbers. Nobody with a current 910 number will have to change their number, but local calls will all need to dial the 10-digit number starting sometime before July 2022.
“The Commission takes note of the important fact that, as stated in the Petition, all existing customers will retain their current area code in the overlay area and will not have to change their telephone numbers,” the NCUC report said; “this fact addresses the concerns raised in all of the Consumer Statements of Position filed in this docket.”
The 910 area code was created in 1993 when it was split off from the 919 area code as a separate region. This split will be different, as 472 and 910 will operate in the same geographic overlay area. Numbers starting in 910 were projected to run out by the middle of 2023, based on current growth.
The switch to dialing 10 digits (910-xxx-xxxx) was going to happen in Fayetteville regardless of the addition of the 472 area code, as FCC mandates were going to call for. This was to help accommodate the addition of a national 988 suicide hotline number.
The report from the NCUC said the biggest concern for adding the 10-digit call is the high likelihood that people would accidentally dial 911 instead of 910. In the 919 area code, they implemented a new 984 area code and ran in to some issue with 911 calls initially. Officials said that they are requiring phone companies to address this problem with additional marketing of customer education. Those efforts should start later this year.
“The Commission observes that the only significant implementation issue from the prior 919/984 area code overlay occurred when some customers dialed 911 instead of 919 when mandatory 10-digit dialing was implemented,” the NCUC report said. “The Commission requests that the Industry give particular emphasis to this potential issue through its customer education efforts, although in this instance 10-digit dialing will be mandatory before implementation of the new area code.”