11.01.1995Corporate

New Area Codes Require Businesses To Make Critical Equipment Changes

November 1, 1995

NYNEX CONTACT: Media Relations,
(212) 395-0500

New Area Codes Require Businesses To Make

Critical Equipment Changes

Targets PBX System Owners, Offers Test Numbers

ALBANY, NY -- It is the nightmare of a patient awaiting a transplant:

a hospital phone system that cannot connect to the on-call service

that works against the clock to transport organs to patients in

critical need. It is a businesspersons nightmare: a phone system

that cannot connect to that important customer in another city.

New area codes use 2 through 9 in the middle digit. Some older

private

branch exchange equipment (PBXs) -- phone switching equipment

widely-used by businesses, hospitals, and other multi-line facilities

to place and receive phone calls -- cannot complete direct dialed-calls

to the new area codes. (These older systems, which can only complete

calls to the new area codes through operator assistance, calling

cards

and similar third-party billings, continue to work for incoming

calls.)

It is believed that many organizations needing to upgrade have

not.

The result: they may not be able to reach regions with new area

codes,

including Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Houston and other major metropolitan

areas.

By the end of 1996, there will be 23 of these new area codes in

use in

North America -- 15 will be added by the end of 1995, with another

eight

scheduled for 1996. Furthermore, private equipment owners must

upgrade

in order to complete calls to the new toll-free "888"

area codes that

will be in operation by March 1, 1996.

To create awareness of the national and international implications

of

the change, the telecommunications industry -- including local

exchange

carriers, long distance companies, equipment manufacturing companies,

state utility commissions, the United States Telephone Association

and

the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) -- is launching a

campaign, "Dont Get Stuck in the Middle," targeting

businesses and

institutions using PBX systems, key, or other types of programmable

telephone equipment. An important element of the campaign is to

encourage PBX owners to call a test number to determine whether

their equipment can complete calls to the new area codes.

Wednesday, November 1, is designated National Area Code Day --

Take The Test. Owners of PBX telephone systems and other consumers

are encouraged to call the test number: 281-792-9999. If the call

does not go through, callers should then call the Area Code Hotline

at 1-800-218-6436, to report the difficulty.

The advent of the new area codes came about when the 144 original

area code numbers -- those with a 0 or 1 as the middle digit --

were

depleted. Industry experts point to tremendous growth in the use

of

cellular phones, modems, fax machines, pagers and other

telecommunications services as the reason behind the increased

demand

for additional telephone numbers.

"All business owners should call the test number to ensure

that their

phone systems can read the new area codes," said Thomas Mazzucco,

NYNEX area operations manager - Technical Operations and Support.

"Telecommunications plays a vital role in business today,

and

organizations that have private systems are a critical part of

todays

expanded network. The ever-expanding array of services will continue

to drive demand for additional telephone numbers, and we are committed

to making changes in this dynamic network, such as the introduction

of

new area codes, as simple as possible. Working with business owners

to identify older PBX systems is one way we can assist customers

with

their telecommunications needs," stated Mazzucco.

The specific upgrade required by an organization will depend entirely

on the system it owns. For this reason, owners of PBXs and similar

private systems should consult their equipment providers to determine

their particular needs.


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