Plans to implement a different three-digit area code for new telephone customers of the region are on hold, according to state Public Utility Commission officials.
Last year, PUC held a series of public hearings, including in Williamsport, to discuss an overlay plan involving the assigning of new area codes once all seven-digit telephone numbers are exhausted.
Telephone customers with 570 area codes would keep that number.
However, all telephone calls to the area would require the dialing of either 570 or the new assigned area code prior to the seven-digit phone number.
Last July, PUC voted 5-0 to approve the overlay plan, which would have meant the assigning of 272 to new telephone users in the 570 area code.
However, PUC spokeswoman Erika Dominick said this week that the overlay plan, considered from among a number of alternatives, may not be implemented.
PUC is requiring all telephone systems to have their networks ready for implementation of such a plan by March 1, just in case.
"If they can conserve numbers, there might not be a new area code," Dominick explained.
No additional PUC hearings are to be held.
However, the public will be informed once a decision is made.
"If it (implementation) would happen, it would be in June 2011," she said.
The proliferation of new phone numbers among cell users and businesses has depleted numbers in some area codes of the U.S. faster than in others.
More information is at www.puc.state.pa.us.