-A mandatory ten-digit dialing system starts this weekend, which means anyone living in the 570 area code will need to include it when dialing any number, local or long distance.
This change is in preparation for the Oct. 21 introduction of a new 272 area code.
Verizon refers to the new area code as an "overlay," which will serve the same geographic boundary as the current 570 as well as "eliminate the need to split the existing area code into smaller areas."
Starting this Saturday, if callers forget to dial 10 digits, they will hear a message instructing them to dial the area code and the phone number to complete the call.
"With an overlay, customers' telephone numbers, including their current area code, will not change, so there is less inconvenience for them," said Carl Erhart, Verizon area vice president.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved the implementation of the area code overlay in July 2010, following a recommendation "on behalf of the telecommunication industry" from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a neutral third party responsible for "day-to-day administration, assignment and management of area codes in the United States."
Verizon, as well as other area telecommunications providers, have been following the commission's directions to prepare for the overlay. NANPA selected 272 as the new area code.
While local calls will still remain local calls, the public needs to reprogram any automatic dialing equipment or services currently programed with the seven-digit system. Among items included are life-safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up modems, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call-forwarding settings and voice mail services.
"We sent out notices to everyone and fliers were put out about the change," said Patti Coles, telecommunications coordinator for Wayne Memorial Hospital. "I hope everyone remembers to dial the area code."
In the hospital and offices within the same system, with the exception of the Dialysis Center, employees need to dial 9 before any number when calling out. With the ten-digit system in place they will now have to dial 9-570, then the number.
"Anyone with speed dials set need to make sure they have 570 included now," she said. "We were told by the phone company that if you dial a number without the area code then you will hear a message."
Coles added that the beepers used by the staff have a "separate speed dial," which she said she already changed to fit the new system.
"They've been using them with the changed number without even realizing it," she said.
She also said that dialing 1-570 then the number is only needed for "long distance calls."
"As of Oct. 21 new numbers will possibly get the new area code," Coles stated. "The area is growing and they think the way to help that is to double up on numbers and give another area code."
Page 2 of 2 - Implementing the ten-digit system Saturday will allow everyone to "get used to" dialing ten digits and not just seven.
"I hope it goes well," Coles said.
Martin Hedgelon, 911 Coordinator for the
Wayne County Communication Center, said that their settings have been changed as well and that they "should be ready to roll."
"The public shouldn't see a big change," he said. "I think it should be good."
Starting Oct. 21 those who request new service, an additional line or move their service to another address, may be assigned a number with the new 272 area code, depending on availability of 570.
Verizon said the 272 area code "will not change" local calling areas for customers dialing 911.
For more information on the 272 area code call Verizon at 1-800-VERIZON or visit www.verizon.com/multimedia/areacodes.