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PITTSBURGH - Western Pennsylvania soon will be the latest metropolitan area in the country to adopt 10-digit dialing for local calling. Starting July 12, the three-digit area code will be added to the seven-digit telephone number for all callers in the 412 and 724 area codes, making every number a "Ten-number Numbersm."
The switch to the Ten-number Number paves the way for the debut of the 878 area code in western Pennsylvania Aug. 17. The new area code is an overlay, which expands the number of available telephone numbers in the region without splitting the existing area codes to cover ever smaller territory. By adding 878 to the same geographic regions served by the 412 and 724 area codes, only new phone lines may get the new area code. With the 878 overlay, existing phone numbers in the 412 and 724 area codes will not change.
"Since two area codes will be working in the same geographic area, customers need to remember to dial all 10 digits of a telephone number to complete a local call," said Dorothy Bruzek, Verizon manager for area code customer education in Pennsylvania. "Verizon encourages customers to dial the Ten-number Number now to become accustomed to the new way of dialing and to uncover any potential dialing problems they may have."
Customers in the 412 and 724 area codes have been able to dial either seven or 10 digits to complete calls since last July. When mandatory 10-digit dialing begins, all direct-dialed calls within and between the 412, 724 and 878 area codes will require callers to dial the area code plus the seven-digit number. Only direct-dialed calls outside those three area codes will require callers to dial a one before the number.
The transition to the Ten-number Number also requires customers to reprogram any telephone equipment and services that automatically dial a phone number. This could affect:
- Speed dialing lists (including phone extensions, cellular, or fax machines)
- Computer modems
- Voice mail/messaging systems
- ISDN equipment
- PBX systems
- Burglar alarms/security systems
- Electronic key systems
Starting July 12, if callers forget to dial the Ten-number Number for all calls within and between the 412 and 724 area codes, they will hear a message instructing them to dial both the area code and seven-digit telephone number.
Depending on the availability of numbers in the 412 and 724 area codes, customers who request new service, an additional line or, in some cases, move their service to another address may be assigned a number in the new area code beginning Aug. 17. As a result, next-door neighbors could possibly have different area codes.
The 878 area code will only change the way customers dial, not their local calling areas or telephone rates. Customers will continue to dial 911 for emergency services and 411 for directory assistance as they do now. A local call will remain a local call even after 10-digit dialing and the new area code are in effect. Customers also can get more information on their local calling areas by checking the customer guide pages of their Verizon directories.
"We want to make this change as easy as possible for customers," said Bruzek. "Our customer service agents are ready to answer customers' questions and help them troubleshoot any problems they may have."
Even though the 724 area code was introduced just three years ago, the rapid growth of local phone competition in Pennsylvania has driven the need for the new 878 area code. Currently, more than 90 competitors serve one million phone lines in the state and require a significant number of telephone numbers for their current and future customers. In addition, the burgeoning use of cellular phones, pagers, computer modems and fax machines has increased the need for numbers.
Western Pennsylvania joins a growing number of regions around the country that have adopted area code overlays and 10-digit dialing, including the state of Maryland, New York City, northern and central New Jersey, eastern Massachusetts and southeastern Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia area has been served by two area code overlays - 215 and 267, and 484 and 610 - since June 1999 and may have another overlay introduced later this year.
Pennsylvanians can get more information on the Ten-number Number and the new 878 area code by calling Verizon's toll-free Area Code Information Line at 1-800-500-2167, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also can visit the company's Web site at http://www.verizon.com/support/areacode.html.
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 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.