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Montanans react to 406 area code extension

By KTVM Staff
Published On: Jun 13 2013 06:59:28 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2013 08:38:09 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Montana will remain a one-area code state, for at least for a while. Federal regulators approved a plan to allow a more efficient system for handing out numbers with the 406 area code.

As Montana approaches the limit for the number of phone numbers under the 406 area code, the Public Service Commission called for the change, saying the number has become a part of the state's identity.

We spoke with many people who live in Montana and say 406 is more than just an area code, it is a way of life.

"We are from Montana, were proud to be from Montana and I feel like 406 represents that," said Cindy Damjanovich.

"I just bought a house and I changed my prefix to 406 on my cell phone and my realtor told me 'Welcome to Montana,'" said Tom McCardle.

We also spoke with Ben Murphy, manager of 406 Brewing Company. He says the area code is something that unites the state, east or west of the divide, Cat or Griz.

"When you go out-of-state, and concerts out-of-state you will see the pride people take in 406 -- 406 license plates, 406 flags," said Murphy.

We double checked the facts and found Montana is one of just 12 states with a single area code.

We also reached out to the communications director at the Public Service Commission, who said this area code is something they hope to preserve for Montana as long as they can. Montanans we spoke with share that same feeling.

"I am a 5th generation of this valley, so not only Montana, but this valley. So that is something I feel we need to hang onto,"  said Susan Brownell.

According to the Public Service Commission, phone numbers are usually given in blocks of 10,000, but the change allows them to break those blocks down in to smaller groups of 1,000.

They say the effort will extend the life of the single area code to at least 2028.