Bell Atlantic Launches Campaign to Prepare
for 10-Digit Local Dialing in Northern
First Step Before Introduction of 'Overlay' Area Code Next
June 1, 1999
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Starting today Bell Atlantic's customers in Northern
Virginia's 703 area code can begin making all of their local phone calls by
dialing 10 digits. The move is a necessary step to prepare customers for
the introduction of a new area code early next year.
Beginning in April 2000, new services may be assigned numbers in a new
571 area code. The 571 code will serve the same geographic area as the
current 703 area code.
Existing phone numbers in the 703 area code will not change, but all
callers will need to dial the area code and seven-digit phone number -- or
"Ten-number Numbersm" -- when they make any calls within
or between the two area codes. It will not be necessary to include a '1'
when dialing these local calls. This is the same dialing method Northern
Virginians are accustomed to following when they make calls to
Washington, D.C., and the nearby Maryland suburbs.
"Customers in the 703 area code should get in the habit now of
dialing Ten-number Numbers," said Hugh Stallard, president and
CEO of Bell Atlantic - Virginia. "If they forget to dial all 10
numbers, the calls will still go through for the next nine months while
people become familiar with the new way of dialing.
"After March 1, 2000, callers who dial a seven-digit number will
hear a recorded message instructing them to dial both the area code and
telephone number," he added. Stallard said now is an excellent time
for customers to begin to reprogram such equipment as automatic speed
dialers on telephones, facsimile machines, alarm circuits and Internet
The demand for new telephone numbers is exploding as people are
communicating more than ever using additional phone lines, cellular
phones, pagers, computer modems and fax machines. In addition,
Virginians increasingly have a choice of which company provides their
local phone service, and these competing companies require phone
numbers for their customers.
This heavy demand for phone numbers is driving the need for new area
codes in Virginia and across the country. In fact, the new 571 area code
will be Virginia's third new area code in less than five years. In 1996, the
540 area code was carved out of 703 to serve the western part of the state.
A year later the industry split the 804 area code, adopting 757 for eastern
The additional area codes and move to Ten-number Number dialing in
Northern Virginia will not affect current telephone numbers, dialing to
reach 911 service, the price of telephone service or local calling areas. A
local call today will still be a local call when 10-digit dialing and the new
area codes are in effect. Customers can get more information on their
local calling areas by checking the customer guide section in the front of
their Bell Atlantic White Pages directories.
Bell Atlantic is kicking off this week its customer education campaign
with newspaper advertising and special inserts in phone bills.
"We want customers to adapt to these changes as comfortably as
possible, and we will do all we can to help minimize any confusion and
concerns," Stallard said.
Virginians can get more information on the area codes and dialing changes
by calling Bell Atlantic's toll-free Area Code Information Line (800-672-
2628) or visiting the company's special area code pages on the World
Wide Web at (www.bellatlantic.com/areacode).
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 43 million telephone access lines and nine
million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.