Hold The Phone - For a Reminder From Bell Atlantic
Starting May 1, Marylanders Must Dial Ten Digits for All Local Calls
April 29, 1997
BALTIMORE -- Bell Atlantic-Maryland is launching a "down-to-the-wire"
media blitz to remind residents to dial ten digits every time they
make a local phone call. Maryland will become the first state in the
nation to use ten-digit dialing beginning this Thursday, May 1.
"We are making an intensive effort to reach people who are still
unaware that the change is coming," said Sherry F. Bellamy, Bell
Atlantic-Maryland president and CEO. "We want to help our Maryland
customers quickly adjust and make a smooth transition to the ten-digit
Bell Atlantic officials will participate in a series of statewide news
conferences, between now and Thursday, to remind customers to use the
area code along with the seven-digit number when making all local
"We also want to remind our business customers that they must
reprogram their business telephone switches, burglar alarm systems,
fax machines, computer modems and speed dialers to dial ten digits,"
Bellamy said. "Businesses should reprogram their equipment now so
they can be ready for the statewide change on May 1."
According to Bellamy, the latest research shows that 94 percent of
Maryland businesses and 93 percent of the state's residents are
familiar with the dialing change. "We are reaching out to every
individual who still hasn't gotten the word," Bellamy said.
Starting May 1, Maryland residents who dial only seven digits will
hear a recording instructing them to try their call again, starting
with the area code. "This may be an adjustment for some people, but
we believe Marylanders are quickly catching on to the new way of
dialing," Bellamy added.
The press conferences cap Bell Atlantic's year-long, $2 million public
awareness campaign to inform customers through the news media,
newspaper, radio and billboard advertising, special messages in
customers' bills and letters to all Maryland business customers. In
addition, Bell Atlantic has provided special attention to senior
citizens, children and others who might need extra help making the
Maryland residents and businesses can get more information on the
dialing change and equipment that needs reprogramming by checking the
Customer Guide section in the front of the 1997 Bell Atlantic White
Pages; calling Bell Atlantic's toll-free information number
(1-888-427-3223) or visiting Bell Atlantic's home page on the World
Wide Web: http://www.bellatlantic.com/areacode.
Editor's Note: This week's news conference
schedule is attached.
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's telephone company subsidiaries
are the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced
services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the
high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also
owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and
is actively developing high-growth national and international business
opportunities in all phases of the industry.