New 845 Area Code Required On Calls to the Mid-Hudson and Catskill Areas

NEW YORK -- The 845 area code will be required for calls into the Mid-Hudson and Catskill regions starting Saturday, Dec. 9. The new area code serves Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties and parts of Sullivan, Delaware, Greene and Columbia counties.

In addition, residents and businesses in the 845 area will need to dial "1" plus 914 and the seven-digit phone number when calling someone in Westchester County.

Similarly, callers in Westchester County will have to dial "1" plus 845 and the seven-digit phone number to reach Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties and parts of Sullivan, Delaware, Greene and Columbia counties.

The 845 area code was created when the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) decided to split the 914 area code to create millions of new local phone numbers.

As a result, Westchester County residents and businesses kept the 914 code. Residents and businesses in the remainder of the 914 area were assigned the new 845 area code by NeuStar, the administrator of the North American Numbering Plan.

The new area code has been in use since June 5, but calls placed to the Mid-Hudson and Catskill areas using the 914 area code have still been connected while callers become familiar with the new 845 code. On Dec. 9, however, calls to those areas must include the 845 area code to be completed. Otherwise, the caller will hear a recorded announcement to dial again using the new area code.

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.

Creation of the new area code will not affect rates or local calling in Westchester County or the mid-Hudson and Catskill areas. Local calls will still be local calls. Charges for calls to 411 (Verizon Directory Assistance Service) will remain the same, and callers will still dial 911 to reach their local emergency services.

Verizon has conducted an information campaign to inform residents and businesses throughout the 914 and 845 area codes about the changes. The company has urged them to reprogram their telecommunications equipment and services -- including computer modems; automatic dialers; and speed dialing; call forwarding; and voice dialing features -- to dial the new area code.

The company provides 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). Verizon representatives also have met with community groups, town boards and elected officials, and the company has mailed reminders to customers living on the border between Putnam and Westchester counties.

Much of the communications has been multi-lingual and accessible by TTY for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The company has placed ads in major area newspapers and on radio stations serving the 914 and 845 area codes.

In addition, the company's Web site has a full description of area code changes throughout Verizon's service area at www.verizon.com/support/areacode.html.

Since Verizon 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, 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.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, 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 more than 101 million access line equivalents and more than 26 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.