Verizon Will Introduce New 779 Area Code in Illinois' 815 Calling Area to Accommodate Growing Need for Telephone Numbers

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - To accommodate the growing need for telephone numbers, Verizon will add a new area code, 779, to the geographic region covered by the existing 815 area code.  In addition, all Verizon customers with 815 and 779 area codes will need to dial 1, plus the area code, plus the seven-digit telephone number when placing all calls, even those within the customers' home area codes.

The changes are required by the Illinois Commerce Commission.  The dialing change goes into effect Feb. 17, and the new area code will be added as of March 17.

Because the 779 area code is a so-called "overlay," customers will not be required to change their existing area codes to the new code.  Instead, when new phone numbers within the 815 area code go into service, they will be assigned to the 779 code. 

Verizon began preparing customers for the dialing change starting last August when the company encouraged callers in the 815 area code to start dialing 1, plus the area code, plus the telephone number when placing all calls. If callers did not do that, their calls would still be completed. 

However, beginning Feb. 17, callers from the 815 area code must dial 1 plus the area code for all calls. Otherwise, the calls will not go through, and callers will hear a recorded announcement instructing them to hang up and dial again using 1 plus the area code.  Beginning March 17, callers from the new 779 area code must also dial 1, plus the area code, plus the telephone number for all calls.

What Will Affected Customers Need to Do?

In addition to changing their dialing pattern to add 1 plus the area code, customers who have services or automatic dialing equipment currently programmed to dial just 7 digits will need to update them to dial 1, plus the area code plus telephone number) for all calls.

Verizon is urging its customers to reprogram their telephones, computers that use dial-up service for Internet access, life-safety systems, fax machines, speed dialing, call-forwarding services, alarm and security systems, voice mail 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 those systems are programmed to handle the new dialing patterns.

What Will Not Change

  • Customers' telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change.

  • The price of a call will remain the same.

  • What is a local call now will remain a local call, regardless of the number of digits dialed.

  • Calls to 911, as well as 411, 611 and 711, will remain the same from either the 815 or 779 area code.  Callers will only need to dial three digits for these calls.

Resources for Customers Who Have Questions

Customers who have questions about the new area code and change in dialing can talk to a Verizon service representative by calling 1-800-483-4000 for residential service or 1-800-483-5000 for business service; or they can logon to the following web sites:  http://www.verizon.com or http://www.icc.Illinois.gov.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 59 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 242,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.