Suffolk County's New 631 Area Code Becomes Effective April 1

Suffolk County's New 631 Area Code Becomes Effective April 1

Mandatory Dialing Takes Effect This Weekend

March 29, 2000


John Bonomo,

NEW YORK - Suffolk County's new 631 area code becomes effective April 1.

Starting Saturday, residents and businesses in Suffolk County on Long Island will need to dial "1" plus 516 and a seven-digit number when calling someone in Nassau County, just as they do when calling across the country. Similarly, callers in Nassau will have to dial "1" plus 631 and a seven-digit number to reach Suffolk.

Last April, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) decided to split Long Island's existing 516 area code to create millions of new local numbers to meet growing consumer telecommunications needs.

As a result, Nassau County residents will keep the 516 code, and Suffolk residents will have phone numbers with the new area code. Last May, NeuStar, Inc., the administrator of the North American Numbering Plan, selected 631 as the new area code for Suffolk County.

Since Nov. 1, calls placed to Suffolk using the 516 area code have been connected while callers became familiar with the new 631 code. That grace-dialing period ends April 1, and 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.

Creation of the new area code will not affect rates or local calling on Long Island. Local calls will still be local calls. Charges for calls to 411 (Bell Atlantic Directory Assistance Service) will remain the same, and the introduction of the new 631 area code does not affect how calls to 911 emergency services are dialed.

Bell Atlantic has been communicating with Long Island residents and businesses to inform them 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 -- to reflect 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); has met with community groups; provides information to community newsletters, and more. Much of the communications has been multi-lingual and accessible by TTY for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Print ads have appeared in major area newspapers along with radio advertising on major Long Island stations.

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.

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. In addition, since 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.

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.