Area code 360 is the telephone area code for western Washington state outside metropolitan Seattle. It began service on January 15, 1995. The numbering plan area (NPA), which encompasses all of western Washington outside urban King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and Bainbridge Island, was previously part of area code 206. Area codes 360 and 334 (Alabama), which began service on the same day, were the first two area codes in the North American Numbering Plan with a middle digit other than 0 or 1.
The served area consists of two sections. The larger, western portion stretches from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Oregon border, while the portion on the east shore of Puget Sound stretches from the border with British Columbia, Canada almost to Everett. This configuration came when residents of several Seattle exurbs protested being moved into 360. In response, US West put some of them back in 206. However, 206 was on the brink of exhaustion even after the creation of 360, and the restoration of these exurbs forced the Washington Public Utilities Commission to switch most of Seattle's suburban ring into areas 253 and 425 in 1998, sooner than originally planned.
This made 360 one of the few areas in NANPA without a continuous land border;[a] others include 706 in Georgia, 423 in Tennessee and 386 in Florida. Each case results from a split that removed the middle from a formerly contiguous area.
Cities and towns in area code 360 include:
- Battle Ground
- Mount Vernon
- Oak Harbor
- Point Roberts[b]
- Port Angeles
- Port Orchard
- Port Townsend
- South Bend
- Whidbey Island
In 1999, numbering plan area 360 was to be overlaid with area code 564, but the implementation was delayed indefinitely by order of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. A 2016 report forecasted exhaustion in 2018. The change was approved in May 2016, with implementation of the new area code scheduled for 2017. As of September 2017, all calls within the 360 Area Code require 10-digit dialing, with the first 564 prefix to be assigned in the summer of 2018.
- The eastern and western portions of 360 are connected in a legal sense because Snohomish, Island, Kitsap and Jefferson counties join in mid-Sound.
- Until 1988, Point Roberts was served by BC Tel, with Canadian area code 604; calls from elsewhere in the United States were billed as calls to a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, even though the city is legally within the State of Washington and thus the United States. On January 1, 1988, Point Roberts telephone service was sold to Whidbey Telephone Company and was moved to 206 area code (subsequently split to 360) and such calls became domestic, at the expense of Point Roberts subscribers' losing the ability to make local calls outside their own exchange.
- Van, Jon (April 25, 1994). "Area-code explosion rings up new cost". Chicago Tribune. p. B1.
- Area code 206 is shrinking once more, Associated Press, August 1, 1996 – via Kitsap Sun
- Danielle P. Aiello; Alicia Torregrosa; Allyson L. Jason; Tracy L. Fuentes & Edward G. Josberger (2008), "Map of the Puget Sound Basin county boundaries, Washington.", Description of Existing Data for Integrated Landscape Monitoring in the Puget Sound Basin, Washington, United States Geological Survey, p. 18, Open-File Report 2008-1308
- "Whidbey Tel planning service upgrades", All Point Bulletin, Point Roberts, Washington, May 29, 2015,
'Economically and socially we’re part of the lower mainland. Governmentally, we’re part of Whatcom County. Our schools are in Blaine. None of it is a local call'
- Washington State Area Codes and Numbering Issues, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, March 2016, retrieved 2016-12-30
- "New area code coming to western Washington" (Press release). Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. May 19, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
|North: 236/672/778, 250, 604|
|West: Pacific Ocean, 236/672/778, 250||Area code 360||East: 509|
|British Columbia area codes: 236/672/778, 250, 604|
|Oregon area codes: 458/541, 503/971|