Splitting up Ventura County's 805 area code would hamper long-established communications with fire and law enforcement agencies in neighboring Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and should be avoided, officials say.
Because of growing demand on the existing system, the California Public Utilities Commission is considering dividing the current 805 service area, which includes the three counties. The area code also includes portions of Los Angeles and Kern counties.
The commission, working with the telecommunications industry, is considering four proposals to split the area code. Three of the alternatives would place Ventura County together with portions of Los Angeles County, while the fourth would keep Ventura County with the same grouping.
Supervisor Susan Lacey is proposing that the Board of Supervisors approve a resolution Tuesday that supports the latter proposal.
In a letter to the board, Lacey states that it would be beneficial to retain the existing area code because Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties share many common interests--including tourism and business promotion. She states that the counties also enjoy a "mutual aid zone" for law enforcement and fire services.
"Therefore, responding to emergencies, and coordinating mutual aid response would be hampered by having two different area codes in our region," Lacey wrote.
Industry officials said that an area code change is needed to accommodate a growing population that has become increasingly dependent on second telephone lines for fax machines, modems, cell phones and pagers.
California has 13 area codes, but that number is expected to double within the next four years, officials said.