New 845 Area Code to Be Launched In Hudson Valley Area

New 845 Area Code to Be Launched In Hudson Valley Area

Callers Should Begin Dialing New Code, Reprogramming Phone Equipment Starting June 5

May 25, 2000


John Bonomo (Downstate NY),

Cliff Lee (Upstate NY),

NEW YORK - Residents and businesses in the mid-Hudson and Catskill areas will get a new 845 area code beginning June 5. Callers from outside the region are urged to use the new code starting that day when trying to reach someone in these areas.

Last October, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) decided to split the existing 914 area code to create millions of new local numbers to meet growing consumer telecommunications needs.

As a result, Westchester County residents and businesses will keep the 914 code. Residents and businesses in mid-Hudson and Catskill areas currently served by 914 (Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties and parts of Sullivan, Delaware, Greene and Columbia counties) will have phone numbers with the new area code.

NeuStar, the administrator of the North American Numbering Plan, selected 845 as the new area code for the mid-Hudson and Catskill region.

From June 5 until early December, calls placed to the mid-Hudson and Catskill areas using the 914 area code will still go through while callers become familiar with the new 845 code. Beginning in early December, however, calls to telephone numbers in the mid-Hudson and Catskill areas must include the 845 area code to be completed.

"There will be an adjustment period for residents and businesses in the Hudson Valley," said John Rollo, Bell Atlantic executive director for Community Affairs. "We expect the next six months will give them the time they need to minimize the impact on their businesses and their routines."

Customers within the 845 area will continue to dial seven digits to reach another resident or business within the 845 area. Similarly, calls from a customer with a 914 number to another customer with a 914 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. Those who are near the area code boundary (the Westchester/Putnam County line) are the most likely to make calls using "1 plus the area code" local calling. Charges for calls to 411 (directory assistance service) will remain the same, and there will continue to be no charge for calls to 911 emergency services.

Bell Atlantic 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 -- including computer modems, autodialers, speed dialing, call forwarding, and voice dialing features, as well as security and medical alarms -- to reflect the new area code.

The company is including information on the new area code in May and June 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; informational handouts at special events, and more. 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.BellAtlantic.com/areacode, has a full description of area code changes throughout Bell Atlantic's Maine-to-Virginia service area.

"Since there are many area codes in the lower New York area, Bell Atlantic recommends that its customers think of their telephone numbers as 10 digits -- the area code and the seven-digit number -- when providing it to family and friends," Rollo said.

The demand for new telephone numbers is exploding as Bell Atlantic has opened its telephone markets across New York, dozens of other communications companies now offer local phone service, and these competing companies require phone numbers for their customers. In addition, people are communicating more than ever using additional phone lines, cellular phones, pagers, computer modems and fax machines.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 44 million telephone access lines and more than 20 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.