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After a throng of North County businesses and residents demanded another round of hearings on the decision to split the 760 area code, the California Public Utilities Commission has made a tentative decision to grant their request.

At stake was the potential loss of the 760 area code for the North County communities that currently use it. The commission had decided to split North County into its own area code, 442, and leave 760 for the other places in the state served by the code, including chunks of Imperial, Inyo, Riverside, Mono and San Bernardino counties.

The North County contingent claimed “inequitable economic harm” would be imposed by that decision, preferring instead what’s called an overlay zone — a preference they touted in force in the public hearings in recent weeks. In that plan, any new numbers generated across the entire zone currently served by the 760 prefix would be assigned the 442 number.

Here’s the CPUC tentative decision, from a press release:

We have considered the volume and substance of these comments and have determined that we should grant the petition for modification and adopt a geographic overlay. This will allow all customers to retain their existing telephone numbers, which we understand to be the highest priority for customers. The overlay will require all customers to adopt the 10-digit dialing protocol.

KELLY BENNETT

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