Suffolk County Residents and Businesses To See More of the 631 Area Code

Suffolk County Residents and Businesses
To See More of the 631 Area Code

New Area Code to Be Displayed on Bills

February 8, 2000


John Bonomo,

NEW YORK - Suffolk County residents and businesses soon will see the
631 area code displayed on their monthly Bell Atlantic telephone bills.

As part of the transition to the 631 area code in Long Island's Suffolk
County, Bell Atlantic is converting many customer information databases
to display the new area code. The software changes are being done
gradually until April 1, the end of the transition period from the old 516
area code.

In addition to the use of the 631 code on bills, customers may notice
Suffolk's area code on the following company services:

  • Bell Atlantic directory assistance operators are giving out the new area
    code to customers requesting a Suffolk County telephone number;

  • The 631 code now will be used for special recorded announcements that
    inform customers when someone has moved or terminated their telephone

  • The new area code will be displayed as part of Suffolk County telephone
    numbers on Caller ID devices.

"These changes are all part of the transition period that began last
November," said John Rollo, Bell Atlantic executive director for
Community Affairs. "While individuals and businesses have been
making changes to their communications equipment, Bell Atlantic also has
been making necessary upgrades to use the new 631 area code in the
services we provide to customers. Customers are starting to see these
changes already and will continue to see them up until the 631 area code
replaces 516 in Suffolk County on April 1."

Last April, the New York State Public Service Commission decided to
split the Long Island's existing 516 area code to create millions of new
local numbers. As a result, Nassau County residents and businesses will
keep the 516 code, and Suffolk customers will have phone numbers with
the new 631 area code. Since Nov. 1, calls could be placed to Suffolk
County numbers using either the 516 or 631. When this transition period
ends April 1, calls to Suffolk County telephone numbers must include the
631 area code to be completed.

Customers within the 631 area will continue to dial seven digits to reach
another resident or business within the 631 area. Similarly, calls from a
customer with a 516 number to another customer with a 516 number will
be dialed with seven digits.

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

Creation of the new area code will not affect rates or local calling on Long
Island. 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 the new area code will have no effect on calls to 911 emergency

Those who are near the area code boundary are the most likely to make
calls using "1 plus the area code" for local calling. Customers
near the Nassau/Suffolk border will be assigned to either the 516 or 631
area code, depending on which county they live in. Customers should
review their telephone bill to verify which area code they are assigned.

Bell Atlantic is continuing a customer education program to inform Island
residents and businesses of the changes and to urge them to reprogram
their telecommunications equipment and services to handle the new area
code. This includes computer modems; fax machines; speed dialing, call
forwarding and voice dialing features, as well as other communications

The company is providing 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);
meeting with community groups and providing information to community
newsletters. 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, BellAtlantic.com/areacode, has
a full description of area code changes throughout Bell Atlantic's Maine-
to-Virginia service area.

The demand for new telephone numbers has exploded since Bell Atlantic
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 nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 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.