Jul 18, 2022 - News

The 804 is running out of numbers

A bunch of cartoon smart phones sending out signals
Illustration: Sarah Grillo and Rebecca Zisser/Axios

By mid-2024, 804 will be out of numbers, and for the first time ever, a new area code is coming to Richmond.

What's happening: Anyone who gets a new phone number after that will have a new three-digit extension that hasn't been determined yet.

Details: Subscriber growth is the main driver of 804 "exhaust," which is the term the SCC uses to describe area codes running out of number combinations.

  • In fact, according to the FCC, there are more phones and therefore phone numbers in America than people.
  • Plus, the new 988 suicide prevention hotline prompted the SCC to implement mandatory 10-digit dialing in Virginia (because some people had a 988-XXXX phone number) last fall, eating up even more 804 combinations, an SCC spokesperson tells Axios.

Flashback: This is the third time the 804 has been "exhausted," according to the SCC.

  • In 1996, part of what was 804 to the east became 757 (Hampton Roads).
  • In 2000, the western part of then-804 became 434 (Charlottesville).

The bottom line: This is awful because it's change, and nobody hates change more than Southerners. But the FCC, the SCC and NANPA all say it's necessary, so let's try not to hold it against newcomers who get the new area code.

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