The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said Wednesday that it will introduce a new area code for the 819 region of Quebec some three years earlier than expected.

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The CRTC plans to introduce a new area code to parts of Quebec three years ahead of schedule. ((The Associated Press))

The 873 area code will be assigned to new numbers in the regions of west and central Quebec, including Gatineau.

Existing customers will keep their current area code and phone numbers.

The introduction of the new number is set for Sept. 15, 2012, rather than the originally planned launch in 2015.

The CRTC said it was prompted to move up the launch date following a recent report that said new numbers in the existing 819 area code were expected to be depleted by September 2012.