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NEW YORK - Starting Saturday, New Yorkers will have to dial 11 digits to make local phone calls, even calls within the same area code. The new dialing pattern must be used to complete all calls within New York City. Beginning Feb. 1, callers who dial only seven digits will hear a recording telling them they must redial to complete the call.
The new dialing pattern means that all consumers and businesses in the 212 area code, for example, who are calling another 212 number, must dial "1" plus 212 plus the seven-digit telephone number they are trying to reach. Similarly, callers dialing numbers within their own 646, 917, 718, or 347 area codes must dial "1" plus the area code plus the seven-digit number to complete their calls.
Dialing to reach 9-1-1 emergency services will remain the same, as will dialing 4-1-1 to reach directory assistance. Callers will not need to dial an area code to reach these services.
The change means that New Yorkers must reprogram computer modems using dial-up service for Internet access, fax machines, speed-dialing lists and call forwarding services and any other equipment that automatically dials telephone numbers.
Security or alarm systems and business phone systems also must be programmed to handle the new dialing pattern.
During a transition period that began last April, callers in New York City have been able to complete calls within their area code by dialing either 11 digits or just the seven-digit number.
The new dialing pattern was needed because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that area codes must be dialed for all calls when a new "overlay" area code serves the same area as the existing area code. The regulations were established to promote local competition and fairness in the communications industry, allowing customers of any telecommunications company to dial calls in a similar manner.
In New York City, both 646 and 917 were overlay area codes to Manhattan's 212 area code, and 347 and 917 were added as overlay area codes to the 718 area code for the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. In 1999, the New York Public Service Commission petitioned the FCC for a waiver of the regulation. The FCC denied the waiver, requiring the dialing plan to be implemented by all telecommunications companies in New York City.
There is no change in rates as a result of the dialing change. Local calls will remain local calls, regardless of the area code, and toll calls will remain toll calls.
For additional information on the new dialing pattern New Yorkers can call 1-800-322-3558 (English); 1-800-882-7818 (Spanish); and 1-800-299-2630 for TTY users. They can also visit the Verizon Web site at www.verizon.com/areacodes.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.8 million access line equivalents and 32.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and 229,500 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to 33 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.