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UPDATE: 408 Area Code Changes Coming This Month

Santa Cruzans who kept their old 408 numbers when they moved over the hill to paradise are in for a rude awakening calling back to the Valley.

Those living in the 408 area code will soon dial 11 numbers to make local calls and grow familiar with a new area code, 669.

And anyone who wants a new 408 number should act fast.

Starting Oct. 20, seven-digit local calls will be a thing of the past for those living in Santa Clara and parts of Santa Cruz and Alameda counties. Why? Because the South Bay is is running out of 408 numbers, said Andrew Kotch, spokeswoman with the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco.

"As each (phone carrier) runs out of 408, they will start issuing 669," Kotch said. The new 669 numbers are expected to be rolled out this fall, as the 408 numbers are used up. Those with existing 408 area code numbers will keep them, and everyone will start dialing 11 numbers to keep the two area codes straight.

The transition begins April 21, when the PUC implements a "trial period," Kotch said. Seven-digit local calls still will go through, but 11-digit calls are encouraged. Starting Oct. 20, only 11-digit calls will be accepted. (The 11 include a 1 and the area code.)

The change comes after the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors last year approved an "overlay," where two area codes operate within the same geographic region. That's different than a geographic split, where one part of the larger region keeps the old area code and other residents switch. 

As more residents drop their land lines and use only their cell phones, the change might not be so pronounced, said Heidi Flato, spokeswoman for Verizon. Many customers already program area codes into their phones for their contacts' numbers, whether local or long distance. Old numbers will stay the same. 

However, Flato said, anyone wanting a new number with a 408 area code should move quickly. While she didn't have a count on the 408 lines remaining, Flato confirmed they should be gone by fall.

"If you're dead set on having a 408, you may want to act sooner rather than later—that whole Bay Area pride thing," Flato said.

For information visit the California PUC's website.

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