BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Vermont will have only one telephone area code at least until 2010.

Whether a state gets a new area code depends on the number of the telephone exchange codes the state has, according to Sterling, Va.-based Neustar Inc., the company that assigns phone numbers to phone companies.

Wayne Milby, senior area code relief planner for the North American Numbering Plan Administration within Neustar, said 233 exchange codes – the three digits that follow the area code — are still available in Vermont. Only four new exchange codes were assigned in the state last year.

“So codes are not being used very rapidly at all,” he said.

Vermont’s 802 area code went into service Jan. 1, 1947. Only 14 states and the District of Columbia use just one area code.

The slowdown in the use of exchange codes has been helped by number pooling, a practice initiated by the Federal Communications Commission during the late 1990s to help slow the assignment of new area codes. Number pooling allows phone companies to share the last four digits of a phone number, called blocks, so other companies can use them, said Linda Hymans, manager of regulatory and compliance with Neustar Number Pooling.

AP-ES-04-09-04 1223EDT

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