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NEW YORK - To comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, New York City residents and businesses will need to dial additional digits to call family and friends in their same area code by early next year.
This change means that residents and businesses with a 212 telephone number, for example, who are calling another 212 number, must dial 1 plus 212 plus the seven-digit telephone number of the person or business they are trying to reach. Similarly, callers dialing within their own 646, 917, 718, or 347 area codes will have to dial 1 plus the area code plus the seven-digit telephone number to complete their call.
New Yorkers should start dialing 1 plus the area code and the seven-digit number for all their calls. A transition period began yesterday, April 1, which will give callers time to become accustomed to the change. Verizon has reprogrammed all of its New York City central office switches to complete calls within the same area code if the caller dials either 1 plus the area code plus the seven-digit number or just the seven-digit number.
But starting Feb. 1, 2003, all New Yorkers will be required to dial 1 plus the area code plus the seven-digit number for all their calls, even if the call is within the same area code. At that time, callers who dial only seven digits will not be able to complete their call, and instead will hear a recorded announcement reminding them of the new dialing plan and instructing them to redial their call.
FCC rules require that area codes must be used for all calls after the introduction of a new "overlay" area code to serve the same area as the existing area code. The rules were established to promote local competition and fairness in the communications industry, so customers of all telecommunications companies would dial calls in a similar manner.
In New York City, both the 646 and 917 were new overlay codes to Manhattan's 212, and 347 and 917 were overlay area codes to 718 for the other four boroughs. In 1999, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) petitioned the FCC for a waiver of the rule in New York. The FCC denied the waiver. The PSC brought the issue to federal court, which rejected the PSC petition in September 2001. Therefore, the dialing plan, as required by the FCC, must be implemented.
There will be no change in calling 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 service 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 urging its customers to begin reprogramming 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. Customers also are being 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.
Verizon is conducting an extensive customer outreach and education plan that will alert and inform New Yorkers of the upcoming dialing change. The program will include 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). Information also will be available on the Verizon Web site, 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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.