Dialing 10 digits for local calls may be in the future for parts of north and east Alabama.
The Public Service Commission says the 256 area code is scheduled to run out of available phone numbers in early 2011. The commission is considering whether to add a new area code that would overlay the 256 area code. That way, people and businesses with existing phones wouldn't have to make any changes.
The new area code would be used only for new customers. But an overlay would require dialing 10 digits for local calls instead of seven digits. Other area codes in Alabama would not be affected.
The 256-area code stretches across much of the Tennessee Valley in north Alabama and runs down the east side of the state to Gadsden, Anniston and Alexander City.