Friday, October 05, 2007

New Mexico's new area code

My two key interests are politics and telecommunications. Every once in a while, the two intersect. The state of New Mexico, which has been served by the single area code 505 since area codes were created in 1947, gets a second code on Sunday. Several years ago, there were plans for an area code split. Rural commissioners on the NM-PRC overrode the commissioners from the more urban part of the state; the result was that Albuquerque and Santa Fe would've changed to the new code, leaving most of the state in 505. (There is precedent for such a move. In eastern Kentucky, the urban areas of Lexington and the Cincinnati suburbs changed to 859 while the rural areas kept 606.) However, the issue was kicked down the road a couple of years by number conservation measures.

When the need to split again rose to the surface, the urban commissioners managed to swing the vote their way: Albuquerque and Santa Fe will remain 505, while places like Las Cruces, Roswell, and Tucumcari change to 575. The boundary has a rather odd shape, looking a bit like a dragon in flight, or perhaps a dog crawling out from under a blanket.

If you have friends in New Mexico, specifically in the yellow area of the map above, you have until 2008-10-05 — a year from today — to get used to the new area code.

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