By Kyle Peveto, Staff Writer
Beginning April 5, Abilene’s area code, 915, will replaced by a new code: 325.
915 will remain the area code for El Paso and far West Texas.
Abilene, San Angelo, Sweetwater and surrounding areas will be assigned the new 325 code, while the Midland-Odessa area will have a new 432 area code.
Callers will keep the same prefix and number for local dialing.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas in February ordered the 915 area code, which currently stretches from Abilene to El Paso, to be broken into three new area code regions.
Changes were made to accommodate economic growth.
Estimates made by the PUC determined the 915 area code would run out of numbers by early 2003.
These changes will prevent more area code splits for another 17 to 20 years, according to the PUC Web site at http://www.puc.state. tx.us/index.cfm.
Dialers in the 263 towns and cities that currently use the 915 code will be permitted to use 915until Oct. 5, 2003, when mandatory use is enacted.
Callers will get an automated message about the correct area code until Dec. 7, 2003.
Many students will be affected very little by the change, but parents who call students and students who live in the areas affected by the change will have to change an old habit of dialing 915.
“It will take some time,” said Layne Rouse, junior human communication major from Midland, whose calls home will be affected by the switch. “There will be a process of learning and relearning.”
El Paso kept the 915 area code because of its population, large bilingual network and international commerce, according to the PUC.
The PUC also wanted the Midland-Odessa area to remain in the same area code.
The PUC will begin a large public education program in early 2003 to remind calling areas of the change.