Bell Atlantic Proposes Simplified Dialing for All Calls

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Bell Atlantic Proposes Simplified Dialing for All Calls

7 Digits within Same Area Code, 1+10 Digits Everywhere Else

Sept. 3, 1997

Media contacts:

Jack Hoey


BOSTON, MA -- Responding to growing concerns over a

possible December dialing disaster, Bell Atlantic

today is proposing an easy way to dial in Eastern

Massachusetts as the Commonwealth adds two new area codes.

Under Bell Atlantics plan, callers would dial seven

digits to complete all calls within an area code;

1+10 digits would complete calls everywhere else.

Without the simplified dialing plan, a Massachusetts

Department of Public Utilities order will require customers

starting Dec. 1 to know the new boundaries of four area codes

and the exchanges in their local calling areas. Callers must

then choose the right one of four possible dialing patterns

to successfully complete a call.

"The uproar over dialing confusion could equal or surpass

the chaos we've seen in recent weeks over the area code

boundaries," said William McIntyre, Bell Atlantic

president - Massachusetts. "We're proposing any easy to

remember plan that everyone can understand."

The DPU dialing plan requires customers to dial as follows:

- 7 digits for calls within your local calling area in

the same area code

- Area code + 7 digits for calls within your local

calling area but in a different area code

- 1+ area code + 7 digits for toll calls within the area code

- 1+ area code + 7 digits for toll calls outside the area code

"We fear that without simplified dialing, this array

of complex dialing patterns for customers will create

considerable confusion, frustration and disruption, an

increase in dialing errors, and an increase in uncompleted

calls," McIntyre said.

Under the DPU plan, more than half of all Massachusetts

customers would have to contend with new area codes and

boundaries, in addition to a confusing dialing requirement

not currently in use. That new requirement is for ten-digit

dialing (area code + 7 digits) to complete calls inside the

local calling area but in a different area code.

The requirement to dial 10 digits for local calls to

a different area code was originally ordered by the DPU

in its effort to reserve "1" as a toll indicator to

precede only those calls for which an additional charge

could apply. However, "1" does not always indicate a

toll call for all Massachusetts customers, such as those

with measured service or certain optional toll calling

plans such as Metropolitan Service and Suburban Service

that combine local and toll calling areas.

Bell Atlantic's simplified dialing plan would

accommodate the future addition of new area codes,

either under a geographic split or overlay approach.

This would reduce future disruption to customers

given the growing demand for exchange codes and the

shrinking lifespan of area codes.

The new Bell Atlantic formed through the merger

of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX is at the forefront of

the new communications, information and entertainment

industry. With 40 million telephone access lines

and 5.5 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell

Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced

wireline voice and data services, market leaders in

wireless services and the worlds largest publishers

of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are

also among the worlds largest investors in high-growth

global communications markets, with operations and

investments in 21 countries.

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