Starting on Feb. 24, 2023, a new 861 area code will be assigned in the existing 309 region when phone customers request new service or an additional line.

This area includes all or parts of Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, and Whiteside counties, among others in west and central Illinois. No current customer with a 309 number will have to change their existing number.

The new 861 area code will overlay the region with the 309 code, not replace any current numbers (courtesy of MTCO Communications).

The 861 area code will co-exist with the 309 area code everywhere in this region, according to an Illinois Commerce Commission release. Customers receiving the 861 area code will be required to dial 10 digits (the area code and phone number) for all local calls, just as customers with telephone numbers from the 309 area code do today.

Telephone customers should know the following key facts about the 861 area code overlay:

  • Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call.
  • Customers in the overlay region will continue to dial 10 digits for local calls within and between the overlay area codes, and 1+10 digits for long distance calls.
  • Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 988, as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 if those are currently available in their community.

Customers should continue to identify their telephone number as a 10-digit number (3-digit area code + 7-digit telephone number), and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates, and customers, etc.

Customers should ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment recognize the new 861 area code as a valid area code and should continue to store or program telephone numbers as 10-digit numbers, the ICC said Friday.

Some examples include but are not limited to: stored telephone numbers in contact lists in wireless and cordless phones, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, medical alert devices, safety alarm security systems and gates, ankle monitors, and or other similar equipment.

Customers should also ensure their websites, personal and business stationery and printed checks, advertising materials, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags include the area code.

For more information, contact your local telephone service provider or visit the Illinois Commission website HERE.