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COASTAL AREAS LIKELY TO KEEP 805 AREA CODE.

Byline: Amy Collins Daily News Staff Writer

The 805 area code likely will be split along an east-west boundary, leaving Kern County and the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys with a new area code, an official with the California Code Administration said Tuesday.

``It would be my belief that the industry would recommend the 805 stay to the west. (But) I can't guarantee it,'' said Doug Hescox, an official with the California Code Administration.

In meetings from San Luis Obispo to Lancaster, an east-west split of the 805 area code received far more support than an option that would have left Santa Clarita linked to Ventura County and Antelope Valley connected with Santa Barbara.

At six meetings in the past two months, the favorite option was to keep the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys together with Kern County.

``Pretty much that was what everyone wanted,'' Hescox said. ``Most of the people favored the east-west split.''

An industry recommendation on the split could come as early as June 26, but the final decision from the California Public Utilities Commission is expected in the fall, Hescox said.

The split wouldn't occur till 1999.

He said it's likely Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties would keep the 805 designation since they would be due for another area code split in eight to 10 years. The eastern portion of the existing 805 wouldn't be due for another split for 14 to 16 years.

``Whichever side has a shorter life, they typically get to keep the older area code,'' Hescox said.

Written comment on the split can be submitted through Friday. Hescox said he has received only 80 letters about the area code split and hopes to receive more by his Friday deadline. ``Most of them just say, `Don't change my area code.' And that doesn't help a lot,'' Hescox said.

He is more interested in finding out people's calling patterns and whether the north-south or east-west split will keep people happiest. ``We didn't get what I would consider a lot of good input,'' he said. ``I would prefer more public input.''

Letters can be sent to the California Code Administration, 2600 Camino Ramon, Room 1S900U, San Ramon, CA, 94583 or faxed to (510) 355-9268.

Regardless of the split, the cost of a phone call will not change. The cost is determined by distance, not area code differences, said Bonnie Ward, a spokeswoman for the California-Nevada Code Administration.

Splitting the 805 area code will create 7.9 million more phone numbers, Hescox said. Each three digit prefix has 792 usable combinations and each prefix has 10,000 numbers.

Factors used to determine how an area code will be split include:

The life-span of the new area codes.

Keeping customer confusion low.

Splitting should be neutral for competing phone companies.

Keeping communities of interest together.

Following existing city, county boundaries.

Keeping legislative districts together.

Following natural geographic boundaries such as mountains and rivers.

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Map

Map: (Color in SAC and AV editions only) (805 area code)
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 18, 1997
Words:503
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