The state is running out of phone numbers in the 715 and 920 area codes, so Wisconsin will add two new numbers.
Instead of just splitting them into two separate codes, the Public Service Commission on Thursday voted to create two new area codes that will be assigned to new phone customers. PSC spokesman Tim Le Monds that means two homes right next to each other could have different area codes.
The change will take effect in about 19 months, and customers will have to dial the area code, plus the phone number, for all calls.
Le Monds says the solution will keep businesses from suffering the burden of having to change all of their phone numbers. He says the PSC made it clear that it was an unfair burden on businesses to make them endure the change.
Le Monds says other states have gone with the overlay option for some time. He says it's become a more popular option as the number of cell phones and fax machines increases, which rapidly take up available phone numbers.
When the change takes effect, the new code in the 920 region will be 274. In the 715 region, it will be 534.
WHBY's Mike Kemmeter contributed this report.