SPRINGFIELD, IL (WEHT) – North-central Illinois is going to be getting a new area code soon. The Illinois Commerce Commission is announcing the addition of the 861 area code to counties presently served by the 309 area code. These counties are: Peoria, McLean, Rock Island, Tazewell, Knox, Henry, Woodford, Fulton and McDonough. According to The Illinois Commerce Commission, the reason for this is to supplement the current telephone number supply as the area code 309 will be exhausted come late 2023.

It should be noted that the 861 area code will be assigned to new customers, while current 309 area customers will keep their numbers. Customers seeking additional telephone lines will continue to be able to receive 309 telephone numbers, even after the 861 area code is in service.  

Next month, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, also known as NANPA, will convene a meeting of representatives from the telecommunications companies serving the 309 / 861 area code to formulate a timeline for the new area code. This period will last for at least 9 months and will allow for telecommunications networks to be updated to recognize the new code. There will also be a period of public outreach and education, to familiarize everyone with the new area code.