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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
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.