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Overlay Set to Kick In Soon

By Lookout Staff

July 11 -- Start exercising your index finger. In less than two weeks it will need to punch 11 digits, instead of seven, to reach out and touch anyone by phone. Even the neighbor next door.

Despite a long-hard slog by cities and individuals opposed to the change, everyone who lives within the 310 area code will need to dial a “1,” the area code and full number to make a phone call starting July 26th.

Called an “overlay,” phone companies and the California Public Utilities Commission that granted the change say it is necessary to halt the loss of phone numbers in the area.

According to the Public Utilities Commission, about 1.88 million 310 numbers remain available, down from 1.97 million last year, and 5.3 million numbers were in use or unavailable as of June 2005.

All new numbers in the geographic area that stretches along the beach and from Palos Verdes to Malibu and throughout the Westsise will now be issued a new area code, “424,” which will exist side by side with the existing “310” customers.

The “424” numbers will be issued starting August 26, State officials said.

If successful, overlays could also be applied to “714” in Orange County, the “408” area code in San Jose and the “818” code in the San Fernando Valley, according to reports.

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