A portion of Berks and 15 other counties in Pennsylvania are getting a new area code, but numbers already being used in the 717 area code won't be affected.
The state Public Utility Commission said Wednesday it has been told the region has been designated for the 223 area code once there are no numbers left that use 717.
The state's current estimate is that the 717 area code numbers will be exhausted before the end of 2017.
The commission said it opted for an overlay rather than to split the 717 region geographically after most people who offered input said they supported the approach.
In addition to parts of western Berks County, the 717 area code covers all or parts of Adams, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder and York counties.
717 was one of the original area codes established in 1947 and was once the largest in Pennsylvania, stretching from the Maryland border to the New York and New Jersey borders. It was split in 1998, when the northern portion became area code 570.