DURHAM, N.C. - Starting Aug. 1, Verizon's customers in central North Carolina's 919 area code can begin making all of their local phone calls by dialing 10 digits. The dialing change is a necessary step to prepare customers for the introduction of a new area code early next year.
Beginning in March, new customers and current customers ordering additional lines may be assigned phone numbers in a new 984 area code. The 984 code will serve the same geographic area as the current 919 area code. That area includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
Existing phone numbers in the 919 area code will not change, but all callers will need to dial the area code and seven-digit phone number when they make any calls within or between the two area codes. It will not be necessary to include a ''1'' when dialing these local calls.
Overlay area codes aren't new to North Carolina. The 980 area code was recently overlaid on the 704 area code, serving the Greater Charlotte area.
''Our customers in the Research Triangle, as well as other parts of the 919 area code, should get in the habit now of dialing 10 digits for a local phone call,'' said John Blanchard, Verizon regional president. ''If they forget and dial only seven digits, the calls will still go through for the next six months while people become familiar with the new way of dialing.
''After Feb. 6, 2002, callers who dial only a seven-digit number on local calls will hear a recorded message instructing them to dial both the area code and telephone number,'' he said. Blanchard said now is an excellent time for customers to reprogram equipment such as automatic speed dialers on telephones, facsimile machines, alarm circuits and Internet access numbers.
The demand for new telephone numbers is exploding as more and more telecommunications companies enter the marketplace. These competing companies require vast blocks of phone numbers for their customers. Another drain on phone numbers is reflected in the ever-changing landscape of communications. More and more people require additional phone lines, cellular phones, pagers, computer modems and fax machines, all of which use phone numbers.
This heavy demand for phone numbers is driving the need for new area codes in North Carolina and across the country. The new 984 area code will be North Carolina's eighth area code.
The additional area code and the move to 10-digit dialing will not affect current telephone numbers, dialing to reach 911 service, 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 take effect. Customers can get more information on their local calling areas by checking the customer guide section in the front of their Verizon White Pages directories.
North Carolinians can get more information on the area codes and dialing changes by visiting the Web site of the North American Numbering Plan Administration at www.nanpa.com.
To view a map showing current area codes in North Carolina, click on the following link: newscenter2.verizon.com/images/news/nc.gif
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