Last week, the State of Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) announced a new area code for the Tampa area: 656.
The new 656 area code overlaps with the same geographic boundaries as the current 813 area code and was approved by the PSC in March 2020.
A statement says the purpose of the new area code is to extend the supply of telephone numbers in that area.
“Existing customers will keep their numbers, but as 813 area code numbers are exhausted, new customers, or customers adding additional lines, will receive the new area code,” the PSC wrote.
“656 is easy to remember, and customers will also find the approved overlay plan easy to implement,” said PSC Chairman Gary Clark. “Existing telephone numbers will not change, and the six-month permissive dialing period will allow time for customers to adjust to 10-digit dialing. It is critical that businesses and individuals have access to new phone numbers when they need them, especially during the current emergency.”
Yes, that’s right – 10 digit dialing.
To prepare for 10-digit dialing, the PSC encourages residents to ensure that all relevant equipment recognize the new 656 area code as a valid area code and to begin programming 10-digit telephone numbers. Examples of such equipment are life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, stored telephone numbers in mobile and cordless phones, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, safety alarm and security systems and gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.