Starting Feb. 1, the new dialing pattern must be used to complete all calls within New York City.
"It's important that New Yorkers become familiar with the new dialing method now," said Verizon New York and Connecticut Group President Paul Crotty. "A few minutes of preparation today will ensure that all calls go through once the change goes into effect."
Verizon is urging its customers to reprogram their telephones, computers that use dial-up service for Internet access, fax machines, speed dialing and call forwarding services and any other equipment that automatically dials telephone numbers so they'll be ready for the dialing change Feb. 1. Customers also are urged to check with their security or alarm companies and the suppliers of their business phone systems as soon as possible to make sure their systems are programmed to handle the new dialing patterns.
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.
Since April 1, callers in New York City have been able to make calls within their area code by dialing either "1" plus 10 digits or just the seven-digit number. But that transition period will end Feb. 1. Callers who dial only seven digits will not be able to complete their calls, and instead will hear an announcement reminding them to dial "1" plus the area code and the seven-digit number.
The new dialing pattern is needed because Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require that area codes must be dialed for all calls wherever an "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 the 646 and 917 were overlay 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 State 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. 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.
Verizon is conducting an extensive customer education campaign to inform New Yorkers of the upcoming dialing change. The program includes mass media advertising, bill inserts and toll-free telephone numbers that provide recorded information (1-800-322-3558 for English; 1-800-882-7818 for Spanish; and 1-800-299-2630 for TTY users). Information also is available on 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 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.