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The 916 area code is more than just a number


Area codes are more than just a number. 

Area codes are more than just a number.

The three-digit phone code might not have much affect on our daily lives — thanks to smartphones and new technology — but the numbers still hold significant meaning to many.

Sacramento’s 916 area code is expected to run out of numbers by 2018.

The 916 area code was created in 1947 as one of the original three area codes in California.

‘916’ serves the greater Sacramento area, including Placer, El Dorado, Solano, Sutter and Yolo counties.

Adding a new area code symbolizes growth in the region and a shift in culture. This is the first time a new area code will be added to Sacramento since the original was created nearly 70 years ago.

The California Public Utilities Commission is now in the process of adding an area code to the region and is considering an overlay option, which means if you have a 916 area code you won’t have to change numbers.

As new residents move into the area, they will receive the new area code.

The new area code, which officials haven’t selected yet, is expected to start rolling out by September 2017, according to PUC spokesperson, Constance Gordon.

Although the PUC is leaning toward an overlay option, Gordon said the decision isn’t final until the commission votes on it. She said there’s no schedule for approval right now.

The introduction of a new area code is a pretty big deal for Sacramento residents.

Area codes can symbolize a connection to a place, almost like an introduction of who you are — your roots.

Justin ‘JayMarZZ’ Marshall is a local radio personality at Hot 103.5 with a deep history in the Sacramento area.

“I think 916 represents Sac’s identity,” Marshall said. “When you hear those three numbers, you instantly think of our culture.”

Marshall isn’t the only person who holds an emotional attachment to a three digit code.

Area codes are frequently referenced in pop culture. Rapper Pitbull also goes by the name ‘Mr. 305,’ in honor of his home city of Miami. Ludacris is another well-known rapper who’s hit song “Area Codes’ is still often referenced nearly 15 years after its debut.

Some people even tattoo their bodies with their an area code as homage to their roots. Others bank their business marketing plan on an area code.

Steve Reavis, owner of 916 Movers, said using the area code in the name of his business helps him stand out as a Sacramento company and appeals to local customers.

“We’re a local moving company. There’s a difference between local moving companies and long distance moving companies,” he said. ” 916 Movers is more of a catchy name with the area we service. People can Google ‘916’ while searching [for movers] and we pop up.”

Reavis also said he doesn’t think an additional area code will affect his business because 916 Movers already deals with other area codes and customers still call.

To longtime Sacramento residents like Marshall, the area code is a source of pride. It’s where they hold their life memories.

Breaking apart an iconic area code is almost like tearing apart the union of a city.

“916 to me is home,” Marshall said. “It gives me a sense of belonging to a community. Adding new area codes feels like we’re segregating the community, when the 916 area code represents us as the entirety of Sacramento.”

Area codes not only hold a connection to a geographical location and it’s culture. To some people, the numbers can also uphold a status.

Having an original area code associates you with the history of a location and gives you creditability as part of the original foundation of a city.

The status is important enough for some people to pay big bucks for it, and selling in-demand phone numbers is a lucrative business.

PhoneNumberGuy.com is a San Francisco-based company that sells specific, rare phone numbers. The online store boasts having more than 25,000 phone numbers for shoppers to choose from. A quick search shows 916 area code numbers run from about $279 to nearly $3000.

The Washington Post lists Los Angeles’ 310 area code as the website’s most sought after area code, followed by New York’s 212 and Miami’s 305. San Francisco’s 415 ranks 6th on the list. The priciest 415 phone number asks for a whopping $50,000! The PhoneNumberGuy considers these popular area codes to be original area codes, or the first area codes used in the city.

You can’t help but wonder, how much will the original ‘916’ area code be worth as Sacramento makes room for some new digits?



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