February 28, 1997
CONTACT: Steve Marcus (212) 395-0500
Manhattan To Get Second Area Code, 646, Next Year As Heavy Demand Rapidly Uses Up Supply Of Telephone Numbers In 212
(NEW YORK) -- Manhattan will need a
second area code in 1998 because a sharp increase in the
demand for telephone numbers from NYNEX's customers and
competitors is rapidly using up the supply of numbers in the
212 area code.
In addition, the 917 area code, which is
used primarily for cellular phones and pagers in Manhattan
and the other four boroughs in New York City, is expected to
run out of numbers in 1999.
NYNEX plans to use 646 for the new area
code in Manhattan for all services, including cellular
phones and pagers.
"We are running out of numbers in the
212 area code because of the demand for additional telephone
numbers from our business and residence customers in
Manhattan and from the growing number of telephone companies
that are offering local exchange service in competition with
NYNEX," said Arnold Eckelman, NYNEX's executive vice
president and group executive for New York.
"In the past four years, the demand for
numbers in the 212 area code has more than tripled,"
In a report submitted today (2/28) to
the New York Public Service Commission, NYNEX outlined three
options for adding the new area code:
-- A geographic split in which Manhattan
would be divided along a physical boundary line such as 42nd
Street or Fifth Avenue. All customers on one side of the
boundary would be assigned to the new area code but would
keep their existing seven-digit telephone numbers. All
customers on the other side of the boundary would remain in
the 212 area code and there would be no change at all in
their telephone numbers.
-- Transferring telephone numbers in a
portion of the 212 area code, such as northern Manhattan,
into the 718 area code. This method was used in 1993 when
the Bronx was transferred from the 212 to the 718 area
-- An overlay in which the new area code
would be applied to the same geographic area served by the
212 area code. Under this option, no customers in Manhattan
would have to make any change in their current telephone
numbers or area code. Anyone ordering a new telephone line
would be given a number in the new area code. This method
was used when the 917 area code was introduced in 1992 to
ease the demand for numbers in the 212 area code. It was
also used nationally last year to implement a second,
toll-free area code -- 888 -- when the 800 service area code
ran out of numbers.
NYNEX said in its report to the PSC that
"the introduction of a new area code in New York City can
affect telephone calls made by millions of New Yorkers and
the businesses that operate in the city." Therefore, the
report said, "all potential solutions need to be weighed for
their impact on these telephone users."
The report, in analyzing the three
options for implementing the new area code, recommends the
overlay. For customers, this option would be the least
disruptive and least expensive and would provide the longest
period of time before the supply of telephone numbers in
Manhattan would run out again, the report said.
NYNEX will hold a series of industry
forums to discuss the proposed options with other telephone
companies that operate in New York and to obtain their views
In addition, NYNEX will provide a
variety of opportunities -- including focus groups, advisory
panels and community meetings -- for consumers to present
The PSC will conduct Public Statement
Hearings and Educational Forums to enable the public to
participate in the decision process.
After those hearings, the PSC will
select the option that will be used to implement the new
area code. The commission is expected to act by September
NYNEX is a global communications and
media corporation that provides a full range of services in
the northeastern United States and high-growth markets
around the world, including the United Kingdom, Thailand,
Gibraltar, Greece, Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland,
Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The corporation is a leader
in telecommunications, wirefree communications, directory
publishing and video entertainment and information services.
NYNEX is also managing sponsor of FLAG -- Fiberoptic Link
Around the Globe -- the world's longest undersea fiber optic
FAX copies of recent NYNEX news releases are available free of charge, 24 hours a day. Call 1-800-331-1214 and an automated system will provide instructions.