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Buy the Numbers: Soon, the 628 Will Replace the 415. Unless You're Creative. 

Tuesday, Aug 12 2014
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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the 415 area code. And the 916 to the north and the 213 to the south. And all was good.

And as God's creatures were fecund and multiplied and began talking on the phone all goddamn day, lo, the original area codes were divided and subdivided, and subdivided still more.

The 415, which originally stretched along the Pacific Coast to the Oregon border, gave way in 1959 to the 707 to the north and the 408 to the south. In 1991, the 510 commandeered the East Bay and, in 1997, the 650 took hold in the South Bay.

Up from the original three area codes established in 1947, California now hosts 31. And, come 2015, the state will feature yet another area code: the 628, overlaid upon the tapped-out 415, covering Marin's far north down to S.F's far south.

Our beloved 415 area code won't be wrenched away from us as it was for forlorn East Bay denizens back in '91, though. Rather, new numbers divvied out come 2015 will be of the 628 variety. But, come Saturday, the telephonic powers-that-be have suggested getting into the habit of dialing 1 plus the area code for every last call — an onerous step that will become mandatory in February.

If this adds two seconds to every call you make and you make 15 calls a day, it'll suck away three solid hours of your life every year. Every last security gate system in San Francisco will have to be reprogrammed, as will the region's extant modems.

San Franciscans, somewhat paradoxically, revel in being both open-minded and despising change. And, as such, a perusal of online forums discussing the pending dawn of the Age of the 628 — a move the California Public Utilities Commission set in motion all the way back in 1999, incidentally — reveals an unabashed loyalty to the 415.

Any city resident obtaining new digits after March, however, will find him- or herself saddled with a 628 number. Unless, of course, an arrangement is made.

Cellular providers already allow transfers of billing, in which one person's contract — and number — are reassigned to another person. So, in the not-too-distant future, city numbers with the 415 area code could be transferred to new owners. 415 could become a hot commodity.

And while this is a transaction usually involving family members or friends, perhaps a deal could be struck between someone willing to part with a 415 number and someone willing to compensate them to obtain one.

As in all things, staying in the 415 ain't cheap.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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