MADISON, Wis. — The 608 area code, which serves southcentral and southeastern Wisconsin including the capital city of Madison, is running out of room.
It's gotten to the point where the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin announced Thursday that they have been forced to create a new area code within the current 608 area code's geographic location.
The problem is they are expected to run out of assignable prefixes - the three numbers in the phone number following the area code - in the first quarter of 2024. The area code overlay adds a second area code to the geographic region served by the existing area code, the commission explained in a statement on Thursday.
The new area code, which will be assigned the number 353, will be issued to new customers as soon as the 608 area code has no more room for new phone numbers.
How this works is a neutral third-party area code relief planner called the North American Numbering Plan Administrator issued a petition to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The commission then approved the petition to overlay the new area code.
The 353 area code will be in service by the end of 2023.
It's important to note that customers will continue to dial the three-digit area code for all calls to and from phone numbers with the 608 and 353 area codes.
The price of a call will also not change due to the overlay. Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 911, as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, 811, and 988, the new Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, according to the PSC.
Wisconsin residents required to dial all 10 digits including area code
Similar but unrelated: a new rule kicked-in in October of 2021 requiring Wisconsin residents to dial local numbers using 10 digits. That's the area code plus the seven-digit phone number.
Before that rule, people could place a call to a number in the same area code without including the area code.
The change went into effect because the Federal Communications Commission created the new 988 nationwide phone number for suicide prevention and help with mental health issues.