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Sen. Ritchie to state: put 315 area code plan on hold

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State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, is urging state regulators to reconsider a plan to create a second area code in the 18-county 315 region.

The state Public Service Commission is considering plans to divide the region into two zones and impose a new area code on one of them, or “overlay” the new area code across the entire region, and apply it for new numbers only.

Overlaying the new area code would require residents to dial 10 or 11 digits to complete both local and long-distance calls.

In a letter to the PSC, Sen. Ritchie said regulators had not adequately demonstrated the need for the new area code, citing declining population and a weakened economy, and said that hundreds of thousands of available phone numbers still exist within the 315 area.

Instead, she asked the PSC to conduct a further study of available phone numbers and find alternatives to 10- or 11-digit dialing for local calls.

Consumers can weigh in on the PSC plan until July 31 by submitting comments online at: http://wdt.me/woZKGW.

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