New 585 Area Code to Be Launched In Western New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Residents and businesses in portions of western New York will get a new 585 area code beginning Nov. 15 and callers from outside the region are urged to start using the new code that day when trying to reach someone in these areas.

Last year, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) decided to split the existing 716 area code to create new local numbers. The demand for new telephone numbers is exploding as residents and businesses in New York and nationwide increasingly have a choice of which company provides their local phone service, and these competing companies require phone numbers for their customers.

As a result, residents and businesses in Orleans, Genesee, Monroe and Wyoming counties, as well as portions of Livingston, Ontario, Yates, Steuben and Allegany counties, currently served by 716 will have phone numbers with the new 585 area code. Residents and businesses in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, as well as the Tonawanda Reservation and Oil Spring Reservation, will keep the 716 code.

NeuStar Inc., the administrator of the North American Numbering Plan, selected 585 as the new area code for western New York.

From Nov. 15 until Aug. 17, 2002, calls placed to western New York using the 716 area code will still go through while callers become familiar with the new 585 code. After that transition period, calls to telephone numbers in Orleans, Genesee, Monroe and Wyoming counties and portions of Livingston, Ontario, Yates, Steuben and Allegany counties must include the 585 area code to be completed.

"There will be an adjustment period for residents and businesses in western New York," said Verizon New York president Paul Crotty. "We expect the next nine months will give them the time they need to minimize the impact on their businesses and their routines."

Customers within the 585 counties will continue to dial seven digits to reach another resident or business within the 585 area. Similarly, calls from a customer with a 716 number to another customer with a 716 number will be dialed with seven digits.

To place a call between the two area codes, customers will dial "1" plus the area code, plus the standard seven-digit number, just as they do when calling another area code across the country.

Creation of the new area code will not affect rates or local calling. Local calls will still be local calls, even though some customers may have to dial a "1" and the area code to complete the call. Charges for calls to 411 (directory assistance service) will remain the same, and there will be no change in dialing 911 emergency services.

Verizon has begun a customer education program to inform area residents and businesses of the changes and to urge them to reprogram their telecommunications equipment and services to reflect the new area code beginning Nov. 15. Computer modems, private call-switching systems, autodialers, speed dialing, call forwarding and voice dialing features, as well as security and medical alarms may need to be reprogrammed.

The company is including information on the new area code in phone bills. Other communications include advertisements; a 24-hour, toll-free recorded information line (1-800-322-3558 in English; 1-800-882-7818 in Spanish, and 1-800-299-2630 for TTY users); educational meetings with community groups and informational handouts at special events. Much of the communications will be multi-lingual and accessible by TTY for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In addition, the company's Web site, www.Verizon.com/areacodes, has a full description of the area code change.

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.