January 23, 1997
CONTACT: Boston -- Jack Hoey (617) 743-3677 Outside Boston -- Your
local NYNEX media representative
NYNEX says long distance carriers plan will force one million
Mass. customers to change numbers
BOSTON -- Jan. 23, 1997 -- NYNEX expressed disappointment that a geographic
split method will be used for implementing two new area codes in Eastern Massachusetts.
New area codes are needed to keep pace with the unprecedented demand for new phone
"Were very disappointed with the geographic split, which was heavily
supported by AT&T, Continental Cablevision, MCI and others," said Thomas
DeSisto, NYNEX regulatory affairs managing director. "This is the most disruptive,
costly and confusing option for customers, requiring more than a million customers
to change their numbers."
NYNEX, along with several cellular companies, favored a new approach recently
adopted in Pennsylvania and Maryland that would have prevented the need for customers
to change their existing phone numbers. With this geographic overlay solution, new
area codes could be phased in as needed, using the current 617 and 508 geography.
"The cable and long-distance companies have forced a major, costly inconvenience
on Massachusetts consumers," DeSisto said.
NYNEX will work with the commission and the industry to implement the split
as quickly as possible. Just as the 617 area code was geographically split into the
617 and 508 area codes in 1988, the 617 area code will be split again into 617 and
781 area codes.
Similarly, the 508 area code will be geographically split into the 508 and
978 area codes.
"A split creates only a Band-Aid solution to the number shortage, as
the supply of available numbers will deplete again in a few years," DeSisto
predicted. "We believe the overlay plan would provide a better long term solution
A statewide three-month permissive dialing period, beginning February 1, 1998,
will enable callers to dial calls using either the old area code or the new area
code until May 1, 1998. "This period will help customers get used to the new
area codes," DeSisto said.
NYNEX also will notify customers of the introduction of the new area codes
through a customer education program beginning May 1, 1997.
The new area codes will not change telephone service rates.
The full text of the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities decision can
be downloaded from the DPU home page at: http://www.magnet.state.ma.us/dpu.
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