- June 1999, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) met with representatives of the telephone companies operating within the 515 code to discuss possible remedies for running out of available telephone numbers, projected for 2001.
- The telephone industry recommended that a new area code be implemented as an "overlay" on the 515 area and a petition requesting that was filed with the IUB. The alternative would be splitting the 515 area code into two or more area codes. NANPA provided several "split" alternatives.
- Seven public meetings were held to provide education and receive public comments on the proposal. Written comments were also received on the proposals.
- Several meetings were held with various local Chambers of Commerce to alert them to the potential issues affecting business and encourage them to become informed and comment on the proposals.
- On December 14, 1999 the Iowa Utilities Board conducted a hearing for cross-examination of formal comments filed by the industry, Office of Consumer Advocate and any other intervenor of record.
- On February 24, 2000, the IUB issued an order to "split" the 515 Area Code into two parts with the area encompassing Greater Des Moines, Ames, Fort Dodge, Algona and Buffalo Center keeping the 515 Area Code. The remaining area, including Guthrie Center, Creston, Ottumwa, Knoxville, Newton, Marshalltown, Iowa Falls and Mason City would be assigned a new area code.
- On February 25, 2000, NANPA assigned the number 641 for the newly "split" area of 515.
- Following an additional public comment period, on March 30, 2000, the IUB signed its final order setting an introduction date of July 9, 2000, for the new 641 area code. The permissive period for dialing with the new or old area code expired on December 3, 2000, when it became mandatory to dial 641 to reach those prefixes by long distance.
- By IUB order, the telephone industry formed an education committee to develop and implement a public education program for the changeover to the 641 area code.
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