New '260' and '574' Area Codes Debut Jan. 15 in Northern Indiana

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Northern Indiana will have two new area codes Jan. 15.
The 219 area code is being divided into three geographic regions and the two new codes, 260 and 574, will accommodate the growing need for new phone, fax and wireless numbers in the northern part of the Hoosier State.

Northwestern Indiana, which includes the Gary/Lake County region, will keep the 219 area code. Telephone numbers in north central Indiana, which includes the South Bend/Elkhart area, will get the new 574 area code. The northeastern portion of the state, including Fort Wayne, will use the new 260 area code.

Starting Jan. 15, customers should use the new area code on calls to north central and northeastern Indiana. However, calls will still go through if they dial the old area code. The transition period, when both old and new area codes will work, will last for five months to enable callers to become familiar with the new codes. Starting June 14, the new area codes must be used to complete calls.

Some of the cities keeping the 219 area code are Chesterton, Crown Point, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, LaPorte, Lowell, Merrillville, Michigan City, Portage, Rensselaer and Valparaiso.

Some of the cities changing to the new 574 area code are Burket, Dunlap, Elkhart, Goshen, Leesburg, Logansport, Middlebury, Millwood, Osceola, Plymouth, Rochester, South Bend, Syracuse, Walkerton, Warsaw and Winamac.

Some cities that will get the new 260 area code are Albion, Angola, Auburn, Berne, Bluffton, Columbia City, Corunna, Decatur, Fort Wayne, Garrett, Huntertown, Huntington, Kendallville, LaGrange, New Haven, Portland, Roanoke, Wabash and Wawaka.

Customers changing to the new 260 or 574 area codes should notify friends, family and business associates of their new number. Also, people who call telephone numbers changing to the new area codes can use the transition period to update their personal phone books and reprogram fax machines, automatic dialing equipment, computers and databases.

The change has no effect on rates or on local calling areas. Even though customers may live near an area code border and dial a different area code to complete a local call, those calls will still be local. Emergency 911 dialing will not be affected.

Verizon customers who subscribe to an optional Local Calling Plan that includes calls outside of their area code will need to dial 10 digits (area code + the seven-digit telephone number) when making calls from one area code to another. These calls are still included in Local Calling Plans.

A dwindling supply of telephone exchange codes (sometimes called prefixes) in the 219 area code prompted the change. The growing demand for phone numbers is sparked in large measure by the growing number of telecommunications companies competing for local phone service. These companies require a large supply of numbers to serve their customers. In addition, thousands of customers are now linked to the outside world through fax machines, pagers, cellular phones, modems and other communications devices that need phone numbers. Area codes have traditionally had either a "0" or "1" as the second digit. However, all of these codes are now used. Some businesses and other institutions may need to modify their switchboards to accommodate dialing area codes that have another number as a second digit. Businesses that have a PBX (private branch exchange) should call their supplier to see if an upgrade is necessary.

For more information and to see a map and a listing of communities in each area code, please go to http://www.vzmultimedia.com/customersupport/areacodes.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.