ALTOONA - Local officials said Thursday they are pleased with the state Public Utility Commission's decision to throw out a proposal that would have split the 814 area code and placed some customers in a new area code.
A petition originally filed in 2009 would have split the 814 area code into two, affecting residents throughout northwestern and central Pennsylvania.
In December 2010, the PUC approved a plan that would have split the area code based on geographic boundaries.
The PUC voted 5-0 on Thursday to dismiss the petition.
Altoona Mayor William Schirf and Logan Township Supervisor Ed Frontino, a local businessman, testified in favor of keeping the 814 area code at an August public hearing in Altoona.
"I agree with the decision. I am satisfied it is something that should please everyone in the Erie and Altoona areas," Schirf said. "I was one of the politicians that took the stance that it should remain intact. It should satisfy City Council as well as everyone in the area as well."
"That is what we were hoping for. Obviously, it is more conducive if you keep the 814 area code intact. It would make it easier for both residents and businesses especially anyone who has a big investment in preprinted items," Frontino said.
State Rep. Camille "Bud" George, D-Houtzdale, also was pleased with the decision.
"I'm very happy to see that for the foreseeable future, the 814 area code will remain intact," George said in a statement. "For the residents of Clearfield County who would have been affected by the change, this announcement is a welcomed relief of those concerns."
Neustar, the neutral third party North American Number Planning Administrator, filed the petition on behalf of the telecommunications industry to provide area code relief for the 814 Numbering Plan Area.
The PUC's recent review of the area code indicated that the 814 area has experienced a more efficient use of telephone numbers through a decrease in the demand for numbers and continued commission efforts to conserve numbering resources.
The projected exhaust date for the 814 area code has been extended more than five years or until the second quarter of 2018, the PUC said.