Apparently dissatisfied with the options it has been presented for creating two new area codes in Maryland, the state Public Service Commission yesterday asked telephone companies and other parties in the case to give it some more palatable alternatives.
So far, the PSC has been given two proposals for dealing with the state's impending shortage of telephone numbers in the 301 and 410 area codes.
One would split both existing area codes in two, following an industry-drafted map that would separate Baltimore from Baltimore County and most other suburbs. the other would "overlay" two new area codes atop 301 and 410, with new customers receiving the new codes once the current numbers are exhausted.
The PSC yesterday asked for both alternative maps and different forms of an overlay, including one that would assign wireless phones and pagers to a separate area code. Comments are due Oct. 16, and the PSC has scheduled a hearing on the issue for Oct. 31.
The state is expected to run out of 301 and 410 numbers in 1997 because of the booming growth in the number of cellular phones, fax machines, modems, pagers and other electronic devices.