New '820' area code coming to the Central Coast

Phone numbers with new area code coming June 2018

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - It's going to be quite the shock and awe when a new area code is introduced to the Central Coast, which has been using 805 since it was created in 1957.

And the new area code will be...820.

The new area code, which the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will begin issuing in June 2018,  also bring with it a new way of dialing.

Existing customers will keep their area code and specific telephone numbers while new customers will be assigned the new area code. Customers must dial the three-digit area code for all calls to and from telephone numbers with the 805 and new 820 area codes.

Residents may start using this new way of dialing to and from numbers with the 805 area code in November 2017 but will become mandatory beginning May 2018.

The new area code will be part of what's known as an area code overlay, which adds a second area code to a geographic region allowing for multiple area codes to co-exist within the same geographic region. The CPUC approved the addition of the new area code to ensure that phone numbers continue to be available to meet demand on the Central Coast and other areas served by the 805 area code.

"The overlay will provide additional numbering resources while minimizing customer inconvenience," said the California Public Utilities Commission in a statement.

Here are some tips to help prepare for the area code overlay:

  • Contact security or alarm vendors to update dial-up numbers to avoid a break in security routines and contacts.
  • Reprogram equipment or features i.e., automatic dial, speed-dial, call forwarding, modems for computer or Internet dial-up access etc., programmed to dial seven digits to dial "1+ area code + telephone number.
  • Update items like stationery, checks, etc., to include your area code + telephone number.
  • Start thinking of dialing 1 + the area code + telephone number for all calls.
  • Advise families, friends etc., to dial 1 + the area code + telephone number for all calls.
  • Provide your area code + telephone number, not just the telephone number, as needed.
  • When asking for someone else’s number, remember to ask for the area code too.
  • Remember that the previous area code and the new area code will co-exist within the same geographic region.


Here's a little fun history for you...the 805 area code was born in 1957 after splitting from the 213 area code and covering the coastal and inland area north of Los Angeles. The 805 area code was reduced to its current configuration along the coast when the 661 area code was split off it in 1999.

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