CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Northern and eastern West Virginia is getting a new area code.
To keep the state from running out of telephone numbers, the state Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to split West Virginia in half.
That means residents in 28 northern and eastern counties will get a new area code sometime next year. Residents in Charleston and southern counties get to keep the 61-year-old 304 area code.
West Virginia has about 7 million possible telephone numbers, but the advent of cell phones, fax machines and other devices has caused the state to run dangerously low of numbers.
The PSC says the geographic approach is the best way to ensure the state has enough telephone numbers.
PSC Chairman Michael Albert voted against the plan. He favored an approach that would have allowed customers to keep their current numbers. The new area code would have been assigned to newly issued numbers.
The new area code number has yet to be assigned.