Dialing Changes Set For Some Delaware Phone Customers

WILMINGTON, Del. — Starting Sept. 1, telephone customers in New Castle and Sussex counties should include the area code when they dial toll-free local calls into neighboring areas of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Bell Atlantic-Delaware customers have been able to make these local calls into other area codes by dialing only the local seven-digit number. However, the region is running out of phone numbers because of exploding demand for new numbers by Bell Atlantic customers and competing phone companies. The change in dialing local calls from Delaware to Pennsylvania and Maryland will make 500,000 new telephone numbers available to Pennsylvania and Maryland residents.

Approximately 205,000 customers who live in communities that straddle the 610 and 410 area codes will be affected by the change.

Dialing extra digits will not cost more money. Local calls made across area code boundaries that are toll free today will continue to be toll free using the new dialing pattern.

There will be no change in the current method of dialing 911, long distance and in-state toll calls. However, FAX machines, speed dialers, alarms and modem software will need to be reprogrammed to include the area code when automatically dialing toll free local calls across area code boundaries.

For the next six months, calls made without the area code still will be completed, but beginning March 1, 1998, callers will need to dial the area code + the local number every time they make toll-free local calls to another area code.

Bell Atlantic-Delaware plans a customer education campaign to familiarize customers with the new dialing method. The company will use bill inserts and newspaper advertising to inform customers, and will provide a reminder message for two months after the change becomes mandatory.

The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and 5.5 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.