Mason-to-Pomeroy calls will become local beginning Nov. 1. On that date it will no longer be necessary to dial a '1' first when calling between the two areas. Should customers mistakenly dial a '1,' the call will still be completed toll-free.
Those phone numbers affected on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River begin with '773.' The Pomeroy exchange, which is in the 614 area code, includes numbers that begin with '992.'
"A river can't divide the ties that bind these two communities. We recognize this, and we have been working diligently with local groups, regulators and legislators over several years to get to this successful conclusion," said Mike Newman, Bell Atlantic area manager for southern West Virginia.
As a consequence of the Bell System's divestiture in 1984, the company is prohibited from providing phone service between regional calling areas and could not provide local phone service across the Ohio River to Pomeroy without a special waiver from the Federal Communications Commission. Bell Atlantic just recently was granted permission from the FCC to link Mason with Pomeroy for local service.
Pomeroy customers have been enjoying local phone service to Mason since last February. GTE, Pomeroy's local phone company, did not require special approval from the FCC.
Calling from Mason to Pomeroy will not cost customers extra, regardless of the local calling plan customers subscribe to. Here's how the plans are affected:
Thrifty Caller Service ($6 a month, residence; $24.50, business) - All completed outgoing local calls are billed by the minute, except for calls to Pomeroy. Calls to Pomeroy are completed at no extra charge.
Community Caller Service ($15 a month, residence customers only) - Calls within the Mason exchange and to Pomeroy are part of the flat monthly fee. There is an additional charge for local calls to Letart, New Haven, Point Pleasant, Ravenswood, Leon and Ripley.
Community Plus Caller Service ($22 a month, residence; $60 a month, business) - Calls to Mason, Letart, New Haven, Point Pleasant and Pomeroy are included in the monthly fee. An additional charge is incurred for calls to Ravenswood, Leon and Ripley.
Frequent Caller Service ($29, residence customers only) - No additional charges for any local calls, including Pomeroy.
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