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Area Code Overview

An area code is the first 3 digits of a standard 10-digit telephone number. Area codes are also known as Number Plan Areas (NPAs). In Wisconsin, there are 6 area codes in service; 262, 414, 608, 715, 534 and 920. A new area code (274) that will eventually serve the same geographic area as 920 has been approved; however, a firm implementation schedule for its introduction has not yet been set.

Area Code Relief

In recent years, the prevalence of telecommunications technologies in everyday life has increased tremendously.  Many households no longer have a single phone number for the entire family.   Instead, customers often have multiple telephone lines, multiple cell phones and Internet access.  Business customers also have many diverse telephone number needs.  The combined effects of new technologies, new providers requiring their own telephone numbering inventories and the increased demand for telecommunications services in general have strained existing telephone number resources, both in Wisconsin and across the country.  This rapid growth in demand for telephone numbers has resulted, in many places,in a condition known as area code “exhaust.”  An area code reaches exhaust when all of the available central office codes within that area code have been assigned.  Area code relief, by means of an overlay or a geographic split, must then be implemented to ensure that an adequate supply of telephone numbers remains available for assignment.