March 1 Dialing
Northern Virginia Customers Dial 10 Digits
for Local Calls
February 24, 2000
ARLINGTON, Va. - Beginning March 1, all telephone customers in
Northern Virginia's 703 area code must dial 10 digits to place their local
phone calls. After that date, those who forget and dial a seven-digit
number will hear a recorded message instructing them to dial both the area
code and telephone number.
"This change marks the last step in helping customers prepare for
the new dialing patterns that will result from the introduction of a new 571
area code in April," said Robert Woltz, acting president and CEO of
Bell Atlantic - Virginia.
The 571 code will serve the same geographic area as the current 703 area
code -- Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and eastern Loudoun counties,
as well as the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax.
Existing phone numbers in the 703 area code will not change. Beginning
in April, the industry will assign numbers with the new 571 area code in
addition to the current 703 code, as available.
When multiple area codes serve the same geography, it is necessary for
callers to dial the area code and seven-digit phone number - or
"Ten-number Numbersm" - when they make any calls within
or between the two area codes. Callers do not need to include a
"1" when dialing these local calls.
The local telephone companies launched Ten-number Number dialing in
Northern Virginia last June to give customers time to acquaint themselves
with the change. This introductory period provided nine months for
customers to re-program their automatic speed dialers on telephones,
facsimile machines, alarm circuits and Internet access numbers for their
computers. During this period, which will end Feb. 29, local calls were
completed regardless of whether the caller dialed 10 or seven digits.
"By now, we hope many of our customers have already prepared for
10-digit local dialing," Woltz said. He noted that Northern
Virginians have been dialing 10 digits for years when placing local calls to
nearby Washington, D.C., and the Maryland suburbs.
The additional area code and move to Ten-number Number dialing in
Northern Virginia will not affect dialing 911, the price of telephone
service or local calling areas. A local call today will still be a local call
when 10-digit dialing and the new area code are in effect. Bell Atlantic
customers can get more information on their local calling areas by
checking the customer guide section in the front of the white pages
Demand for new telephone numbers is exploding as Virginians
increasingly have a choice of which company provides their local phone
service, and these competing companies require phone numbers for their
customers. In addition, people are communicating more than ever using
additional phone lines, cellular phones, pagers, computer modems and fax
machines, all of which, of course, require phone numbers.
This heavy demand for phone numbers is driving the need for new area
codes in Virginia and across the country. In fact, the new 571 area code
will be Virginia's third new area code in less than five years. In 1996, the
540 area code was carved out of the 703 area code to serve the western
part of the state. A year later the industry split the 804 area code, adopting
757 for eastern Virginia.
And, because of the continued high demand for telecommunications
services, more area codes in Virginia are on the drawing board. Plans are
currently underway for three additional codes to be introduced over the
next two years in the 757, 804 and 540 areas.
Virginians can get more information on the area codes and dialing changes
by calling Bell Atlantic's toll-free Area Code Information Line (800-672-
2628) or by visiting the company's area code site on the World Wide Web
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless
customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced
wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the
world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are
also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.