Grace Period for Dialing Changes in 215 and 610 Area Codes: Geographic Overlays

New ways to dial. New area codes. No doubt about it. New technologies and new choices for services are creating a huge demand for new telephone numbers. But only a fixed number of telephone numbers are available in each area code. In order to support the demand for Internet access, beepers, fax machines, and cell phones that callers want, we need new area codes.

As a result, starting December 5, 1998, these changes occurred in area codes 215 and 610.

What's happening? Bell Atlantic is implementing new dialing patterns to prepare for the area codes that will be introduced in 215 and 610 in June 1999.

These new area codes will be introduced as "geographic overlay" codes, in which a new area code is simply added to the same geographic region where an existing area code already works. The two area codes work in the same region. New area code 267 will work in the same region as 215, and new area code 484 will work in the same region as 610.

Why? The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission mandated the change to increase the quantity of available telephone numbers.

Will I have to dial differently with the overlay? Yes, you have to change the way you dial calls within and between 215, 610, 267 and 484.

You will need to dial: 1 + area code + number for every call you make within or between area codes 215 and 610. Even to the house up the street.

(Note: If you forget to dial the 1, your calls will still go through.)

How will it affect me at Penn? When placing a call from a Penn telephone number to a number in 215 or 610 area codes, you must now dial: 9 + 1 + area code + number.

When do I start this new dialing? On December 5th, permissive dialing began. Start now to use 1 + the area code, along with the 7-digit number, for every call you make.

On June 5th, 1999, required dialing begins. Starting on this date, you must use the area code for these calls.

Will 511 be affected? Will 911 be affected? No. You will still dial 511 on -campus to reach Public Safety. And, off-campus, you will still dial 911 to reach local emergency services.

Will calls cost more after this change? No, the cost of your calls will not change. Your rates will not increase when you begin dialing 1 + area code + local telephone number.

Will I have to change my phone number? No. With an overlay, all existing customers will keep their current area code and phone number-no customer will have to change his or her number. Local calls are still local calls, and your local calling area won't change, even if it includes telephone numbers in the new area codes.

What do I need to do to prepare? If you have any equipment that dials other phone numbers, such as fax machines, modems, or alarms, you will need to reprogram them. The permissive dialing period, (or as you may see it called, the grace period), will give you time to get it done.

For every number you dial with 7 digits right now, you should reprogram your equipment to dial a 12 digit number from on-campus: 9 + 1 + area code + number.

What about my phone equipment from Telecommunications? Don't worry, we're already working on it! Any system that we support, we'll take care of for you. Over the next six months, we'll be reprogramming system speed dial numbers on Eagles, Extrom, and Norstar systems.

Spread the word! Be sure to notify your friends and relatives. Update your printed materials, such as resumes, stationery, personal checks, business cards, etc., to include your area code. Most importantly, get into the habit of giving and getting area codes when exchanging telephone numbers.

I have questions. Who should I call? If you have questions about your campus telephone equipment, please call our help desk at 898-4840, or e-mail

For help with modems, contact your local support provider. For alarm systems, contact your vendor or review equipment manuals.

--Laurie Cousart, Director, Telecommunications and Campus Card Services

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 16, January 12, 1999