Eastern Long Island residents have less than a month left to comment on whether the proposed new Suffolk County area code should be geographically split or be what’s known as an overlay.

New York State officials are encouraging the public to weigh in on the proposal by emailing comments to secretary@dps.ny.gov, calling 1-800-335-2120 or by mailing their opinion to Public Service Commission (PSC) Secretary Kathleen Burgess, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223. The deadline is Nov. 7.

“The Public Service Commission is very much interested in hearing public comment on this area code issue,” James Denn, a spokesman for the commission, told the Press shortly before a pair of local public hearings on the issue in July.

The need for the new three-digit number came after analysts recently determined that the 631 area code used for Suffolk telephone calls will run out of assignable phone numbers in two years. What three digits would make up the proposed new area code has yet to be determined.

The 631 area code has served Suffolk since it was split from the 516 area code that serves Nassau County in 1999. This time, the state Department of Public Service (DPS) has recommended that the new area code be an overlay—meaning existing Suffolk phone numbers would not be impacted and new numbers would use the new area code.

If the PSC ignores that recommendation and goes with the geographic split, the proposed dividing line would go through the western Suffolk towns of Islip and Smithtown. The DPS has left the door open to changing its recommendation based on the comments it receives.

If the overlay option is used, Suffolk would have area code relief for about 45 years, according to projections. The downside? Current federal regulations would require 10-digit dialing within the county once the overlay is put in place.

Those who comment in writing should refer to “Case 14-C-0182 – 631 Area Code Relief.” Callers should press “1” to leave comments, mentioning the 631 Area Code proceeding. Those in need of language assistance can call1-800-342-3377.

 

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.