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The 510 area code has run out

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    Posted: 22 January 2020 at 9:18pm
When state regulators announced that phone numbers with the 510 area code had been exhausted — and a new code would be introduced this summer — some longtime East Bay residents felt they were losing more than just the half-second it takes to dial the three digits.

To those loyalists, the launch of area code 341 — which will be attached to all newly assigned phone numbers starting July 22 — comes at a moment of immense transition for the region. The Warriors are leaving Oakland. Rents are on a seemingly endless upward climb. Demographics are changing rapidly.

“341 is the gentrification area code,” opined Twitter user @_CAMIMANI.

Or at least, tweeted KPFA host Brian Edwards-Tiekert, possessing the previous area code will suggest you’re not a gentrifier.


“A 510 number is about to become a signifier you’re OG/authentic/remember pre-to-mid-stage gentrification,” the journalist wrote.

Of course, for years, most newcomers have simply hung on to their Denver or New York City or Tuscaloosa codes when they’ve arrived in Berkeley, never installing a land line or switching cellphone numbers. The 341 numbers will probably go not to new arrivals, but to the local children who come of cellphone age after 2019.

For everyone, the change will bring a bit of an annoyance, requiring callers to type in the area code before making any local calls, starting Saturday. Until now, a 510 could call another 510 with just seven taps. When using a landline, callers will now have to dial “1” then the area code, the California Public Utilities Commission say. Some cellphone providers won’t require the “1,” but will still require an area code.

Many people already have all their acquaintances’ full numbers stored in their phones as contacts, or use voice-activated “virtual assistants” like Siri to ring stores and services. For them, the change will be hardly noticeable, noted Berkeleyside reader Alan Tobey.

“For a number of years now there’s been no absolute connection between phone number (with area code) and physical location,” Tobey said via Facebook. “We can take a number with us if we move. And of course our friends the robodialers can fake a local area code to make it more likely that we’ll pick up.”

Might those robocallers be responsible for the East Bay’s dearth of 510 numbers?

Nope, said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail, which develops software that blocks robocalls and tracks data on the junk calls.


“Robocalls don’t have anything to do with exhausting area codes,” Quilici said in an email. When it looks like a robocall is coming in from a 510 number — or sometimes even one’s own number — the robocaller is using a “spoofing technique,” rather than actually calling from those digits, he said.

“The 510 has more likely than not reached capacity through all the cellphones taking up numbers, fax machines, new businesses, etc.,” he said. Other experts have agreed that population and job growth, and the proliferation of cellphones and other technologies linked to phone numbers, are the culprits.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Claude251100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 January 2020 at 6:45pm
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