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This area code is split into two disconnected sections. The small section is west-central Georgia, in the region around Columbus. This is bordered by area code 334 to the west in Alabama, area code 478 to the east, area code 229 to the south, and metro Atlanta's 404, 678, 770, and future 470. It does not touch the landline area of 404, only the cellphone area.
The major section of 706 wraps around from Rome in northwest Georgia, east through the mountains past Dahlonega, meeting its narrowest point at Toccoa, then broadening south to Athens and Augusta. It touches Alabama's area code 256/938 and 334 on the far west, Tennessee's area code 423 on the northwest, North Carolina's area code 828 and Upstate South Carolina's area code 864 to the north-northeast, and midlands area code 803 to the east, and middle Georgia's 478 and metro Atlanta as above.
When 706 was first put into service, several residents of Atlanta's outer-ring suburbs complained about no longer being associated with the more prestigious 404 area code. In response, BellSouth added them back to 404. This made 706 one of the few area codes that is not contiguous. However, 404 was close to exhaustion even after the 706 split, forcing the Georgia Public Service Commission to switch most of Atlanta's suburbs over to 770 sooner than it planned.
In June 2005, the GPSC announced that 706 was nearly exhausted for new telephone exchange prefixes. The supply of numbers was further limited because the 706 territory includes portions of three LATAs that spill into neighboring states. The Atlanta LATA, which includes Columbus, spills into Alabama. The northern portion is split between the Atlanta and Chattanooga LATAs. The Augusta LATA spills into South Carolina. On June 24, the NANPA assigned area code 762 for this purpose. However, the Columbus area was not large enough for its own area code, but was too large to stay in 706. For this reason, it was decided to make 762 an overlay, with 10-digit dialing to be allowed on September 3. On April 1, 2007; 10-digit dialing became mandatory in the 706/762 territory.
This is the third time that the GPSC has flip-flopped on its policy for deciding how new area codes would be assigned. Metro Atlanta's suburbs were split into 770, but then both 404 and 770 were overlaid with 678, and cellphones (originally 404 only) can now have any of those no matter where in the metro area. Southern Georgia was then split three ways instead of an overlay.
Presently, 706/762 is expected to remain in its unusual, non-contiguous state until at least 2028. Despite the rapid growth in the area code's main section (particularly the northern portion), it is nowhere near exhausting.
Banks, Burke (part with area code 478), Chattooga, Catoosa, Chattahoochee, Clarke, Columbia, Dade, Dawson, Elbert, Fannin, Franklin, Gilmer, Glascock, Gordon, Greene, Habersham, Hancock, Harris, Hart, Heard, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson (part with area code 478), Jenkins, Lincoln, Lumpkin, Madison, McDuffie, Meriwether, Morgan, Murray, Muscogee, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Rabun, Richmond, Stephens, Talbot, Taliaferro, Towns, Troup, Union, Upson (part with area code 478), Walker, Warren, White, Whitfield, and Wilkes
|Georgia area codes: 229, 404, 470, 478, 678, 706, 762, 770, 912|
|West: 256/938, 334||area code 706/762 nearly completely surrounds 470, 678 and 770||East: 864|
|South: 229, 478|
|Alabama area codes: 205, 251, 256, 334, 938|
|Tennessee area codes: 423, 615, 731, 865, 901, 931|
|North Carolina area codes: 252, 336, 704, 828, 910, 919, 980|
|South Carolina area codes: 803, 843, 864|