813 area code predicted to max out by 2022

For many Tampa residents, the numbers 813 are synonymous with home. But the 813 club is quickly running out of spots.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator submitted a petition this week recommending the state prepare for 813 to near its end.

During Florida's Public Service Commission meeting Tuesday, state regulators attributed the need for a new area code to the growing population and changing technologies.

"When you sit back and start thinking about it, 22 years ago there was one phone per house," said Chairman Art Graham. "Now you have a family of four, there's more phones per house."

Florida's first area code, 305, was implemented in 1947 and served the entire state. There are now 18 area codes across the Sunshine State and, as of Tuesday, a new one was approved for North Florida.

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State regulators predict Tampa's 813 will be exhausted by 2022.

"Florida's population is definitely growing very rapidly," said Pina Holway, a professor of sociology and demography at the University of Tampa.

According to Holway, studies predict the state will grow by 300,000 people per year, and hit a total of 22 million residents by 2020.

More people means more cell phones, and therefore, an ever-growing need for more telephone numbers.

The commission did not say when it will make a decision to add a new area code for Tampa, but officials said those who already have an 813 number will be able to keep it.