San Francisco News

CPUC holds first meeting on 628 area code

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It recently happened to San Jose and now San Francisco is next in line to get a new area code. The state Public Utilities Commission held its first hearing Wednesday on adding 628 to the 415 area code. The CPUC hopes to make a decision in the next six months and say it will take about one year to implement.

The plan is quite controversial to people who don't want to be inconvenienced and people who simply have pride in "the 415."

If you need convincing that 415 is a status symbol, look no further than 415 Clothing Inc. In their South of Market store, the area code is king. "I think it's just that San Francisco pride and I think that 415 is another way of representing that," Heather Villasenor of 415 Clothing said.

Well, get ready for something new. "I love my 415. I hope they don't change it. Why would they? Too many people?" asked phone customer Jovy Ignatius asked.

He's exactly right. The California Public Utilities Commission says the 415 area code will be exhausted by 2015. The CPUC is presenting a couple of alternatives. One is to split San Francisco into two geographical regions with one area of the city keeping 415 and the other changing to 628. This would require federal approval

Another alternative is to do what's called an "overlay," basically give the new area code to newcomers. Unfortunately for those who get 628, it won't have the 415 cachet.

Consumer psychologist for Golden State University Kit Yarrow says it really does have meaning. "So these days, everybody's phone is part of their body in a way, and your phone number is obviously going to be somewhat a reflection of your brand. There's two coolest brands to have in the country. One is 212 and one is 415," she said.

A public hearing was scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the state building on Van Ness and two more meetings Thursday in San Rafael.

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california public utilities commission, san francisco news, carolyn tyler
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