Callers in Northern Wisconsin should soon begin dialing the area code plus the seven-digit number for all local telephone calls, to prepare for the debut of a new area code - 534 -- next summer.
To help ease the transition to 10-digit dialing, there will be a permissive dialing period from Oct. 17, 2009, until July 17, 2010. During this period, callers will have the option of dialing either seven or 10 digits to complete their local calls. Beginning July 17, 2010, customers who forget to dial 10 digits will hear a recording that will provide instructions on how to redial their calls.
Following the transition to 10-digit local dialing, the 534 area code will be introduced on August 14, 2010. The area code, called an "overlay," will expand the number of available telephone numbers in the region without changing anyone's number in the existing 715 area code. By adding 534 to the same geographic region served by the 715 area code, only new phone lines may get the new area code, minimizing inconvenience and confusion for customers.
The dialing change and introduction of the new area code will not change customers' local calling areas or telephone rates. Customers will continue to dial 911 for emergency services, as they do now. A local call will remain a local call even after 10-digit dialing and the new area code are in effect.
"Since two area codes will serve the same geographic area, customers will need to remember to dial all 10 digits of a telephone number to complete a local call," said Paul Fuglie, Verizon vice president, external affairs in Wisconsin. "We encourage customers to take advantage of the period between Oct. 17 and next July so that they can become accustomed to the new way of dialing and make sure that any communications equipment they have is programmed for 10-digit dialing."
The change to 10-digit dialing for local calls will affect residential and business customers of Verizon and other landline and wireless telecommunications providers in Antigo, Athens, Birnamwood, Colby, Eagle River, Edgar, Hatley, Lac du Flambeau, Land O' Lakes, Loyal, Marathon, Marshfield, Mattoon, Merrill, Minocqua, Owen, Phelps, Pickerel, Sayner, Spencer, Stratford, Three Lakes, Tomahawk, Wausau and White Lake.
Customers in these areas will need to reprogram any telephone equipment and services that automatically dial a phone number. This could affect:
- Speed dialing lists (including phone extensions, wireless phones and fax machines)
- Computer modems
- Voice mail/messaging systems
- Fax machines
- ISDN equipment
- Business PBX phone systems
- Burglar alarms/security systems
- Electronic key systems
Customers who have questions can contact Verizon at 1-800-VERIZON or visit the following Web site for more information: www.vzmultimedia.com/customersupport/areacodes/Wisconsin/Wisconsin.html.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.