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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 1996
757 DIALING STARTS JULY 1
New Area Code Serves Eastern Virginia
RICHMOND, VA - The new 757 area code lands in eastern
Virginia July 1, becoming the second new area code for the state in less
than a year.
The 757 code, which has been carved out of the existing 804 area, will
serve the lower peninsula (Williamsburg, Newport News and Hampton), South
Hampton Roads (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia
Beach) and Virginia's Eastern Shore.
While dialing begins July 1, there will be a seven-month grace period in
which callers can dial either the new or old area code and the call will
go through. However, beginning Feb. 1, 1997, those who make a long
distance call into Hampton Roads and the Virginia Eastern Shore will be
required to use the new area code.
The change has no effect on rates or on local calling areas. The places
that can be dialed locally now can be dialed locally after the
introduction of the 757 area code.
A dwindling supply of telephone numbers in the 804 area code prompted the
change. Of the 756 exchange codes (first three digits of a phone number)
in the 804 area code, only about 80 remain unused. A single exchange
contains as many as 10,000 telephone numbers.
The growing demand for phone numbers is sparked in large measure by the
communications revolution. Thousands of customers are now linked to the
outside world through fax machines, pagers, cellular phones, modems and
other communications devices.
In addition, Virginia is opening local telephone service to competition.
Telecommunications companies competing in these markets will require a
large supply of telephone numbers to serve their customers.
The boundary of the 757 code begins at the North Carolina border and runs
northward, just west of Franklin and Williamsburg, to the York River,
following the existing boundary between the Richmond and Norfolk LATAs
(regional calling areas). Communities to the east of the line and south
of the York River will be in the new area code.
Area codes have traditionally had either a 0 or a 1 as a second digit.
However, all of those codes are now used. Some businesses and other
institutions may have to make modifications to their in-house
switchboards to accommodate dialing area codes that have another number
as a second digit. Businesses that have a PBX (private branch exchange)
built prior to 1992 should call their supplier to see if an upgrade is
757 becomes Virginia's fourth area code. The 540 area code began serving
customers in the western part of the state last July. The 703 area code
serves the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. The 804 area
code will continue to serve central Virginia, including Richmond,
Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Danville.
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace.
Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of
New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and
international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.
- Paul Miller, 804-772-1460