- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Seven-digit telephone dialing can continue indefinitely for local calls in southern Indiana’s 812 area code, state regulators said Thursday.

Mandatory 10-digit dialing was due to begin Sept. 6, but the medical community and law enforcement agencies have said they’re still not ready for it, so the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said it was delaying the change for safety reasons.

A six-month grace period during which either seven-digit or 10-digit dialing was acceptable began in February as the region prepares for the introduction of the new 930 area code. The new code is being added as an overlay in the same geographic region because 812 phone numbers are running out.

“The 930 area code is still scheduled to (be introduced); it’s just that we understood that there was some concerned about some of the businesses being ready for the mandatory dialing,” IURC spokeswoman Natalie Derrickson told the Evansville Courier & Press.

Once the new area code is introduced, people in the 812 area code will need 10-digit dialing for all calls, regardless of whether they are local or long distance.

The new area code was scheduled to be introduced Oct. 6, but the delay in mandatory 10-digit dialing will change that, Derrickson said. The commission has scheduled a meeting Sept. 3 to hear concerns about the mandatory 10-digit dialing and consider a new introduction date for the new area code.

The 812 area code has been in effect since 1947 and covers areas including Evansville, Terre Haute, Bloomington and New Albany.

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