Western Pennsylvania getting new area code thanks to growth in suburbs


PITTSBURGH - A new area code is coming to Western Pennsylvania to handle huge demand for cell phone numbers and additional land lines.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced Friday it will implement the 878 area code in the 724 area code zone first because its supply of available phone numbers is nearly exhausted.

The 724 area code covers Pittsburgh's suburbs.

The 878 exchange will be assigned to new numbers in the 412 numbering plan area once its numbering options are almost exhausted. The 412 exchange covers mainly Pittsburgh.

Callers in the region have been required to dial all 10 digits since July 2011.

Current customers will keep their area codes and telephone numbers, according to the PUC. The new area code could be assigned to new customers or to those adding lines.

The PUC said the proliferation of cell phones and additional land lines has increased demand for phone numbers.

Until 1997, Pennsylvania had four area codes - 814, 412, 717 and 215. Five were added between 1997 and 2000, including the 724 area code in Western Pennsylvania.

This article was written by Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE.