August 21, 2014

New area code revealed for coastal region

South Carolina’s new, fourth area code will be 854, according to a South Carolina utility regulator.

Office of Regulatory Staff executive director C. Dukes Scott confirmed Monday that he had received an email from a telecommunications group which oversees the area codes nationwide. He said the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) sent the notification roughly ten days after the state Public Service Commission approved a new area code to cover the Lowcountry and Pee Dee regions.

The 854 digits will be used for new phones and video IP lines in the current 843 area code, where NANPA predicts it will soon run out of available numbers by 2015. The new area code will begin to take effect by the end of 2014.

The Charleston Post & Courier first reported the new code Monday. The newspaper reported the number was set aside to become South Carolina’s next area code at least 10 years ago, but was kept under wraps because plans occasionally can change.

The proposal offered by NANPA would create a “distributed overlay.” In other words, those who currently have 843 area code phone numbers would not have to change, but new customers would have a different code.

Once the change goes into effect, all callers in the 843 region would have to begin dialing the full area code for all calls (meaning a 10-digit number, rather than the normal 7 for local calls).

The Office of Regulatory Staff has been tasked with educating the public about the move.