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McDonough County to get additional area code

ICC officials said the 861 area code will “overlay” the existing territory in order to support...
ICC officials said the 861 area code will “overlay” the existing territory in order to support additional telephone numbers.(MGN)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 4:35 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - The Illinois Commerce Commission on Monday announced the addition of the 861 area code for the region presently in the 309 area code, including McDonough County.

ICC officials said the 861 area code will “overlay” the existing territory in order to support additional telephone numbers.

Officials said the 861 area code will be available sometime in late 2022 or early 2023, as the assignable prefixes in the 309 area code are expected to run out in late 2023.

According to ICC, the 309 area code, which was originally created in 1957, serves large portions of northwestern and northcentral Illinois, including all or most of Peoria, McLean, Rock Island, Tazewell, Knox, Henry, Woodford, Fulton and McDonough Counties, and includes the cities of Bloomington/Normal, Peoria, Moline, Rock Island, Pekin and Galesburg, among many others.

How an overlay area code works

With an overlay, an additional area code is added to the same geographic area as the existing area code, with all current phone customers retaining the original area code. The 861 area code will be assigned to new customers requesting local phone service, cellular and paging services, and alarms.

With the new 861 area code, current 309 area customers will keep their numbers. The new area code is being introduced so that the numbering administrator will have a continuing supply of prefixes and blocks to assign to new and growing telecommunications service providers. Consumers seeking additional telephone lines will, in many instances, continue to be able to receive 309 telephone numbers, even after the 861 area code is in service.

The FCC requires that all telephone calls made in the 309 / 861 overlay area be completed by dialing the 10-digit number (area code + seven digit number). The change does not raise the cost of the call. A local call will remain a local call, and a toll call will remain a toll call, regardless of the number of digits that are dialed to complete it.

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