Telephone industry experts say the state will need a new area code in a few years when one in northern Wisconsin runs out of telephone numbers.
NeuStar Incorporated is a Washington D.C. company contracted by the government to oversee area code planning.
It says the 715 area code will run out of new numbers in early 2005.
That area code covers territory extending across central and northern Wisconsin from Black River Falls to Waupaca, and from Superior to Marinette.
The state's Public Service Commission says it will begin looking into the need for a new area code and will hold public meetings.
The state last added an area code in 2000 when it split the 414 area code and assigned counties surrounding Milwaukee County to the 262 area code.