Got Your Ten-Digit Number, NEPA?

Daniella DeVivo, Reporter

NEPA natives must get used to dialing a three-digit area code. Ten-digit-dialing became effective Sept. 1 in areas including Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport, according to Verizon Corporate News Center.

The ten-digit dialing is preparing callers for a bigger change in October. Verizon calls this period an “overlay,” the time between the first and second calling changes. Cell phone numbers with a 570 area code will remain that area code, but new numbers, first time phone purchasers and users who change plans will receive a 272 area code. The 272 code will not change local calling for customers, according to Verizon.

“An overlay minimizes disruption for our customers because their telephone numbers, including their current area code, will not change. But it’s important for customers to get into the habit of always dialing the 10-digit number when they make calls within the 570 area code,” Carl E. Erhart, Verizon area vice president said in a statement on the Verizon website.

The change is coming to campus, too. The state Public Utility Commission requires telephone users to dial the area code plus the seven-digit phone number prior to Sept. 21. The university plans to change the phone system configuration the night of Sept. 15 to stay in compliance. An external call on Sept. 16 will require the area code. On campus calls to extensions will not be affected. The PUC is requiring this change so that a new 272 area code can be introduced Oct. 21, according to a targeted announcement from Mark Reboli, Networking and Telecommunications Manager at MU.

If callers forget to dial 10 digits, they will hear a message instructing them to dial both the area code and seven-digit telephone number, according to Verizon.

Senior communications major Callen Clark said he doesn’t think the area code requirement is anything to be concerned about. “It’s a change. Things change. Things happen. They always happen you just have to roll with the punches.”

Clark said cell phone users regularly save numbers on their phones and often include area codes already.

Pennsylvania approved the new 272 area code in 2010. Emergency contact numbers, such as 911, will not change. Assistant Professor of Communications Dan Kimbrough uses a 414 area code, and so he regularly saves area codes of numbers in his phone because his number is out-of-state.

“People will get upset about it for a month or so then they will be used to it and forget it ever happened,” he said.

Peter Falvey, senior communications major, said most people have smart phones so an area code change does not require users to change each number by hand. It’s a one-button change, he said.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal as people are making it out to be. I think people like their cell phone numbers and they are kind of defined by it, but in reality I’m not defined by my cell phone number.”

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