Las Vegas could be getting a new area code, although it probably won't come up all 7s as some have proposed.
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on Wednesday approved a measure that would allow officials to pursue a new area code by the summer of 2014 as demand for numbers in the current 702 exchange fills up.
The commission voted to develop a plan from the telecommunications industry that could be ready for final approval by the end of the year, PUC spokesman Peter Kostes said. It would include public feedback sessions in the fall.
According to a report filed in April by a group that tracks area code use, the numbers available in the 702 area code, established 65 years ago, will run out by the second quarter of 2014 based on current demand. That's almost a year sooner than cited in 2011 by the Numbers Utilization Resource Forecast.
The 702 area code serves Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. About three new numbers a month are issued, with about 90 percent of them in Las Vegas.
New customers would get numbers in the new area code. Existing customers would keep their 702 area code. All valley residents would have to dial 10-digit phone numbers that include area code on local calls.
It would take 16 months to implement the new plan upon final approval by the commission.
It's unlikely new area code would be 777, a pitch Las Vegas tried in 1997. That area code is reserved by the telecommunications industry as an easily remembered number that could be used for public services, such as 555 for directory assistance or 911 for emergencies.
The 702 area code first came into being in 1947 and spanned the state. As the population grew in Las Vegas, Northern Nevada was split off into the 775 area code. That happened in 1998.