An area code overlay is coming for the 870 geographic area and its first effects will be felt next month, starting on July 21.
The overlay, which was approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, will add the area code 327 to the regions currently served only by 870. The plan was initially approved by the APSC in 2009, according to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporting from that time, and the 327 number was chosen in 2010.
The 870 area code currently serves a wide swath of Arkansas geographically, covering areas around the periphery of the state in all four directions.
The biggest change for those who currently have an 870 number will be the need for seven digit dialing even when calling other 870 numbers starting January 19, 2024.
An AT&T-produced informative packet about the changes recommends people with 870 area codes "should begin dialing the area code [plus] the telephone number" on all calls starting July 21, though calls to a seven digit local number will still connect.
This will change beginning on January 19.
On and after that date, anyone with an 870 number must dial the full number, including area code, for local calls or the call will not complete and a recording will instruct callers to hang up and dial the full number, according to the release.
After February 20, 2024, the new 327 area code will begin to be assigned to some new phone line services in the region currently covered only by 870.
Those currently with 870 numbers will not have their number changed, the release states, and local calls "will remain local calls."
Set numbers such as 911 will also remain the same.
An APSC official declined to go on the record about the changes Friday; a press release with further information is expected to be released by the agency later in July.
The AT&T informational page about the changes can be found at eldoradonews.com/0701areacode/.