Montana’s 406 Area Code May Soon Get a Partner
Currently, the whole state of Montana is unified under a single area code, but the FCC has been in talks to bring in a supplement to the (406) since 2011. Montana Public Service Commission Spokesman Eric Sell explains how a new number will work its way in.
"We might have to integrate another area code either through a geographic split; where one area code is in one part of the state and another area code is in another part, or through an overlay; where any new phone number added would be under a new area code," Sell said. "We're hoping to push that off as long as possible, but with the population growing the way it is in the state, it's just mathematically going to have to happen."
The strategy the PSC came up with to prevent a new area code is called area code “pooling,” where infix numbers, like (543, 721, and 728), that aren’t completely used in rural areas are used in more urban areas too. Sell says the strategy is working.
"The Commission took some action back in 2013 to require mandatory number pooling by phone service providers in the state," Sell said. "The result of that is that the forecast [for the new area code] was extended out. We're really pleased that our actions pushed it out because we know that the 406 area code is a sense of pride for a lot of people in the state of Montana."
The FCC told the Public Service Commission last week that their new projected date for a new area code is now 2022, it had been set to occur in 2019.