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Some Californians set to begin 11-digit dialing
The San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | July 23, 2006 | Dan Laidman

Posted on 07/23/2006 4:15:21 PM PDT by South40

LOS ANGELES – Starting Wednesday, seven-digit dialing will be a thing of the past for a broad swath of coastal Los Angeles County.

Residents of such posh enclaves as Santa Monica, Malibu and Brentwood will be among the first Californians to be required to dial 11 digits each time they pick up the phone, even if they are calling a next-door neighbor.

The change comes as part of the state's first-ever area code overlay, in which future phone numbers within a region receive a new area code while existing numbers keep the old one. It contrasts with the more common area code split, in which a region is divided and each new geographic area gets its own area code. The overlay of 424 on the 310 area code is taking effect after a lengthy fight, and many of those who resisted it have a message for consumers and business owners in other parts of California.

“I would imagine that, especially in heavily populated areas like L.A. and San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, that this is going to happen more and more,” said Kathryn Dodson, president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce. “So our annoyance is going to eventually become everyone's annoyance.”

Critics of the overlay cite the hassle of mandatory 11-digit dialing – which the Federal Communications Commission requires with overlays in order to preserve competition among phone companies – as well as the time and energy residents must expend updating speed-dial and cellular directories.

Phone companies counter that overlays are more convenient than splits because businesses can keep their existing numbers and therefore do not have to update stationery and notify clients.

Still, critics also say the overlay could be dangerous because some security systems rely on phone lines that dial automatically, and because some elderly or disabled people may adjust poorly to the change.

Then there's the prestige factor.

“People are very aware of the 310 area code,” said Darren Lewis, a manager in the music industry who works in Santa Monica. “It has a cachet.”

Now, if Lewis adds another phone line to his office, it will start with 424, which he expects will confuse the many people he deals with on the East Coast.

“People are going to wonder where you are,” he said.

Every area code in the United States has just under 8 million usable numbers, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Overlay critics acknowledge that population growth and the spread of new technology have the potential to tap out the supply in bustling regions, but they have suggested that phone companies still have many unused numbers.

Industry officials deny they are hoarding phone numbers and cast the overlay as the least onerous solution to a very real problem.

“Absolutely we are reaching capacity in this area code,” said Verizon spokesman Jon Davies. “We were reaching capacity about six years ago.”

Much of Los Angeles was covered by the 213 area code until the 310 was created for the city's west side in 1991. The 310 area code was split in 1997, when the 562 code was added.

Soon after that, the telecommunications industry began pushing state regulators for an overlay in the rapidly growing region, which stretches from Los Angeles' wealthy coastal communities to Compton and south Los Angeles.

Consumer activists and politicians mobilized against the plan, however, and in 1999 the California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 to halt it. At the state's behest, phone companies found other ways to conserve numbers.

Such efforts helped California continue to stave off overlays even as they spread to other states, including New York, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

However, geographic splits continued throughout California, creating smaller and smaller area code boundaries. Meanwhile, the phone companies continued to complain of shrinking rosters of available numbers, and last year the CPUC took up another 310 overlay request.

“We've extended the life of the area code for those six years, but now, once again, demand for cell phones and pagers and fax machines and all the new technology that's coming down the line has really taken over the availability of numbers,” said Verizon spokesman Davies.

State Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach, sees it differently.

“Some of this is the old boy crying wolf problem,” she said. “Some of the carriers were screaming they didn't have numbers, and here it's been seven years and nobody's been denied a telephone number in the 310 area code.”

Despite the renewed objections of Bowen and other politicians and chambers of commerce, the CPUC voted unanimously to approve the plan last August.

Analysts see a number of reasons why the overlay passed this time, from the new political makeup of the CPUC and divisions among critics to the ever-increasing pressures of population and technology.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: area; areacode; areacodes; circuit; codes; losangeles; phone; phonecircuit; phonesystem; telecom; telephone
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1 posted on 07/23/2006 4:15:22 PM PDT by South40
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To: South40

It all started with the damn ZIP Codes. Now the end is near!!


2 posted on 07/23/2006 4:17:41 PM PDT by Mark (REMEMBER: Mean spirited, angry remarks against my postings won't feed even one hungry child.)
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To: Mark

We still have speed-dialing/auto-dial.


3 posted on 07/23/2006 4:19:36 PM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: South40

We've been doing that in Houston for quite some time. Looks like California is behind the times. :-P


4 posted on 07/23/2006 4:20:22 PM PDT by SaveTheChief ("Now if you'll excuse me, I have some idea balls to remove from a manatee tank.")
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To: South40
They're running out of phone numbers. Hence a new overlay in California.

(Go Israel, Go! Slap 'Em, Down Hezbullies.)

5 posted on 07/23/2006 4:20:24 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: South40
“Some of the carriers were screaming they didn't have numbers, and here it's been seven years and nobody's been denied a telephone number in the 310 area code.”

There's a reason for that. The dramatic growth in computer-based communication in the last 10 years (e-mail, instant messaging, teleconferencing, etc.) has rendered the fax machine nearly obsolete. This has slowed down the growth in demand for new phone numbers in most metropolitan areas.

I'm not even sure why it's such a big deal for people who don't like this 11-digit dialing anyway. So many people place phone calls these days using pre-set/memory dialing that pressing each individual digit is becoming a thing of the past, too.

6 posted on 07/23/2006 4:22:14 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: abigail2; Bella_Bru; bellas_sister; BenLurkin; Blue Champagne; Bob J; boris; Brad's Gramma; ...

SoCalPing


7 posted on 07/23/2006 4:26:21 PM PDT by EveningStar
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To: South40
Then there's the prestige factor.

Pffft.

8 posted on 07/23/2006 4:27:17 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: SaveTheChief

I think we started doing this in Dallas back in about '98 or '99.


9 posted on 07/23/2006 4:28:02 PM PDT by basil (Exercise your 2nd amendment - buy another gun today)
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To: SaveTheChief
The outlying Chicago areas had that in the mid 90's
10 posted on 07/23/2006 4:28:13 PM PDT by The Brush
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To: South40
Totally stupid, they should make all numbers 8 digits and they increase all of them by 10 million.

I remember when they did it in Los Angeles from 6 to 7 digits to increase the numbers.
11 posted on 07/23/2006 4:29:01 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: South40

Wonder why they have to dial 11 digits. Here in Houston, with three area codes (713, 281, and 832), we still only have to dial 10.


12 posted on 07/23/2006 4:30:29 PM PDT by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
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To: SaveTheChief

I live just 22 miles from the center of Houston and all calls to Houston are long distance. Even the next town, only 5 miles away is long distance.


13 posted on 07/23/2006 4:30:40 PM PDT by encm(ss) (USN Ret.)
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To: South40
Consumer activists and politicians mobilized against the plan, however, and in 1999 the California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 to halt it. At the state's behest, phone companies found other ways to conserve numbers. Typical of the California leftists to force private corporations to accommodate them.
14 posted on 07/23/2006 4:33:53 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: South40

*Yawn*

We've had 10-digit dialing in Orlando since 1999, when we got our second area code (321) to join the previously existing 407. I thought California was supposed to be ahead of the rest of the country in everything.


15 posted on 07/23/2006 4:34:32 PM PDT by Berosus ("There is no beauty like Jerusalem, no wealth like Rome, no depravity like Arabia."--the Talmud)
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To: Xenalyte

You might have three area codes, but if you don't need to dial 11 digits all the time this means that these area codes still have some kind of geographic basis. In places where area codes are "overlayed," a new area code is introduced that includes places that already have their own area code -- and the new area code is used for all new phones from that point on. So a home with two different phone numbers could theoretically have two different area codes for its phones.


16 posted on 07/23/2006 4:43:57 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: Xenalyte

I have to dial the 1 first from landlines but can do straight 10-digit dialing from a cell phone.


17 posted on 07/23/2006 4:46:47 PM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: encm(ss)
It's worth noting that a phone call isn't necessarily "long distance" just because you have to dial an area code. Between local and long distance calls there is another category called "regional" calls, which are outside your immediate area but not far enough away to involve a separate phone carrier.

The opposite is also true. There are some rural parts of the country where an area code covers an enormous region, and many calls within that area code can be "long distance" if they are made to points that are far away.

18 posted on 07/23/2006 4:47:40 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: South40

Growing up in Colorado in the 70s, we only dialed 4 numbers. Many folks still had party lines.


19 posted on 07/23/2006 4:49:59 PM PDT by TankerKC (┐JosÚ puede usted ver?)
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To: South40
Californians to be required to dial 11 digits each time they pick up the phone...

Brrrring... "Hello? Hold on, I have to dial eleven digits."

Communication skills today are atrocious.

20 posted on 07/23/2006 4:51:08 PM PDT by Cobra64 (All we get are lame ideas from Republicans and lame criticism from dems about those lame ideas.)
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To: SaveTheChief

My relatives in the DC metro area have been doing that for a while, too. Forever between Maryland, DC, and Virginia, and for a couple years now to everyone else in the Virginia 'burbs.

Also, about ten years ago, there were several phone outages in Northern VA, where you could still call DC and MD, but not anyone else in Virginia. Then it was announced that local in-state calls would go through if one did use the area code.

Everywhere I have lived since then, anytime there are phone system problems, I try dialing the area code first with local numbers to see if I can find a circuit to get my call through thataway.

jm


21 posted on 07/23/2006 4:51:47 PM PDT by JockoManning (http://www.gravityteen.com)
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To: South40

This happened around Chicago a while ago.


22 posted on 07/23/2006 4:53:27 PM PDT by BlessedBeGod (Benedict XVI = Terminator IV)
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To: South40

No one will notice. You only need update your phone directory once.


23 posted on 07/23/2006 5:15:13 PM PDT by TheDon (The Democratic Party is the party of TREASON!)
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To: Alberta's Child

713 and 281 are geographical - at least as regards landlines - but 832 is an overlay here.


24 posted on 07/23/2006 5:18:01 PM PDT by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
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To: Berosus

We are still only dialing 7 locally here in STL..


25 posted on 07/23/2006 5:24:54 PM PDT by cardinal4 (America, despite the usual suspects, stands firmly with Israel..)
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To: dalereed
Well, I remember when our phone number in Downey, Calif. was Metcalf 555.
26 posted on 07/23/2006 5:27:43 PM PDT by Coldwater Creek ("Over there, over there, We won't be back 'til it's over Over there.")
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To: South40
I always thought overlays were stupid. Except that cell phones should be on separate area codes, because they really don't have a geographical home. 917 in NYC is sort of like this.

Does anyone still pay for long distance calls on an individual basis? Here I've got unlimited long distance.

27 posted on 07/23/2006 5:28:26 PM PDT by Koblenz (Holland: a very tolerant country. Until someone shoots you on a public street in broad daylight...)
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To: mariabush

Los Angeles was a lot bigger so since the mid 1939s our number was OLympia 8388 and it was later changed to NOrmandy 48388 and when they instituted area codes they made it 213-664-8388.


28 posted on 07/23/2006 5:33:17 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: Berosus
I thought California was supposed to be ahead of the rest of the country in everything.

Actually, we're up to three hours behind.

29 posted on 07/23/2006 5:41:59 PM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: Alberta's Child
There's a reason for that. The dramatic growth in computer-based communication in the last 10 years (e-mail, instant messaging, teleconferencing, etc.) has rendered the fax machine nearly obsolete. This has slowed down the growth in demand for new phone numbers in most metropolitan areas.

The flip side on this is the cell phone explosion... It not really land lines numbers but cell numbers that are eating up area codes... we would have been better off to have cell and land lines have different not intermixed areacodes/prefix like some other country do

So let say you have 310 as an area code... 310 would only be given to land lines ... but if you have a cell in the same area you would has a 3 digit cell network "area code" prefix that would only be for cell phones

The whole idea behind area codes is for a hierarchal routing system or "address" for the call

30 posted on 07/23/2006 5:45:00 PM PDT by tophat9000 (If it was illegal French Canadians would La Raza back them? Racist back their race over country)
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To: South40
I live in the 847 area code, and we have had to dial 11 digits for several years. And, with all the numbers stored in my cell phone, it's not that often that I have to dial 11 digits anyway.

Just think, if computers could have been programmed to just add one more digit at the end of all numbers, there would be no need to dial 11 digits.

31 posted on 07/23/2006 5:45:01 PM PDT by Bernard (God helps those who helps themselves - The US Government takes in the rest.)
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To: dalereed

LOL, those old "word" prefixes. We had POplar and DIamond.


32 posted on 07/23/2006 5:50:33 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: TankerKC

Same growing up in Western NC - we had one long ring - two short rings was the other side of the party line. Back when dirt was new... *g


33 posted on 07/23/2006 5:50:47 PM PDT by NCjim (The more I use Windows, the more I love UNIX)
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To: Berosus
10-digit dialing is the invention of the Devil himself. And it is not used in California.

I travel a LOT. There is no reason in the world I should have to dial the area code I am in.

But (as the article says and we'll see what happens -- last time they tried this people rose up violently), if you have to dial your own area code then you should be allowed to dial the "1."

There is NOTHING stupider than a voice saying "you do not to have to dial 1..." If the thing knew my intent, it should have just put the call through. If I am dialing the 666 area code and start with 1-666 it should KNOW there isn't a 2-666 and just put me through!

But I have had to work with the idiots who do telecommunications systems programming. These guys are engineers with no programming expertise and that has been the case since switches went digital. It is like having a medical examination by a forensic pathologist. They know where all the parts go but they don't know how they hang together.

I was a Telecommunications Manager and had to work with these algorithmic novices. I know of what I speak. Now I work with and real systems have had to hook real computer systems to these underdesigned pieces of crap. Most of them don't have a development system and NONE have the full array pf testing environments that have been standard in real computing for 40 years!
34 posted on 07/23/2006 5:51:43 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (A Conservative will die for individual freedom. A Liberal will kill you for the good of society.)
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To: dalereed
I agree with you. Australia I believe has 8 digit phone numbers. The whole USA should have switched years ago, when it would have been less painful to do so.

How long ago was that switch to 7 in LA? Must have been a while. As a kid in the early 60's we had 7 in the Orange County.
35 posted on 07/23/2006 5:56:16 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: South40

If Mayberry gets another area code, does that mean that the phone company has to hire someone to help Sara?


36 posted on 07/23/2006 5:57:14 PM PDT by aomagrat (Just when you think you have it made in the shade, the tree falls on you.)
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To: South40

11? Most of Texas is 10 digit dialing. Where is the extra digit?


37 posted on 07/23/2006 5:58:56 PM PDT by Melas (Offending stupid people since 1963)
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To: Yaelle

at least in that era I knew exactly where anyone was by what their prefix was anywhere in L.A. or Orange County.

What really started to make thing dificult is when they started switching from manual relays to digital relays that took up about 10% of the space and numbers could be changed, hooked up, or disconnected with a simple computer entry.

They took entire areas, shut down the entire system for switch over and you got new numbers from a switching facility that had been converted already.

After they did that you couldn't keep track of where the numbers were.

It was about the same time that they broke up ATT and Pac Bell because we worked on every telephone company building ib L.A. putting in deviding walls so ATT employees couldn't get to Pac Bell employees, what a joke!


38 posted on 07/23/2006 5:59:40 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: Xenalyte

My question exactly. Where is the 11th digit coming from?


39 posted on 07/23/2006 6:00:04 PM PDT by Melas (Offending stupid people since 1963)
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To: SoCal Pubbie

"How long ago was that switch to 7 in LA?"

It was in the late 1940s as I remember.


40 posted on 07/23/2006 6:01:28 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: basil

In Texas it's 10 digit dialing.


41 posted on 07/23/2006 6:03:28 PM PDT by chesty_puller (USMC 70-73 3MAF VN 70-71)
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To: tophat9000

True, but I hear about more and more people who are now using their cell phones as their ONLY phone -- and simply doing away with the land line altogether.


42 posted on 07/23/2006 6:04:39 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: South40
Kalifornia 2006: Press "1" for English

Kalifornia 2007: Press "1100001" for English
43 posted on 07/23/2006 6:04:51 PM PDT by TRY ONE (NUKE the unborn gay whales!)
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To: dalereed
Totally stupid, they should make all numbers 8 digits and they increase all of them by 10 million.

You need to spend some time in some competent telecom books. Pay attention to the development of the switching network and dialing plans. The choice of 7 digit number was made because that's the ideal number for humans to remember. Early in the life of the network, the second digit of the 3 digit prefix disallowed the use of digits 0 and 1. That is how the area codes were discerned. The needs for additional numbers and the advent of electronic switching allowed the use of 0 or 1 in the second digit. That expanded the available phone numbers in an area code, but required dialing a country code first. The country code for the United States is conveniently "1".

Area code splits are a hell of a lot of work. I've worked a bunch of them during the years at PacBell. Doing an overlay is comparatively simple.

I remember when they did it in Los Angeles from 6 to 7 digits to increase the numbers.

You're old enough to remember that point in time. The original switching machines were designed for numbers in the range of 0000->9999. The digits above that were used to select the outgoing trunks to another switching office. The "magic" 3 digit area code with 1 or 0 as the second digit did the long distance mapping from area code to area code. The next 3 digits did the end office selection. The last 4 digits mapped to a customer line.

44 posted on 07/23/2006 6:16:36 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Alberta's Child
True, but I hear about more and more people who are now using their cell phones as their ONLY phone -- and simply doing away with the land line altogether.

That sounds like such a good idea, but if you have more than 2 people living in a house, and the main two are gone, with their cells, the others are left w/o a phone.

45 posted on 07/23/2006 6:18:26 PM PDT by Yaelle
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To: dalereed; All
The story behind area codes and how they were assigned is a fascinating one.

Area codes were instituted way back when rotary phones were "state-of-the-art," so they were assigned in a way that allowed the largest number of users to take the least amount of time to dial the numbers. All area codes back then had a 1 or 0 as the middle digit. The largest cities were assigned area codes with a 1 in the middle and with low numbers as the first and third digits -- since these would dial the fastest on a rotary phone (it took several moments to dial a 9 or a 0 back then, when you had to wait for the dial to rotate all the way back into place before dialing the next number).

This is how New York City ended up with an area code of 212 -- the area code that dialed faster than any other on the old rotary phones. Los Angeles (213) and Chicago (312) were next in line in terms of "dial speed" followed by Detroit (313), Dallas (214), Pittsburgh (412), St. Louis (314), etc. Notice how the original area codes for many of the large cities in the country all had a "1" in the middle -- including Philadelphia (215), Cleveland (216), Indianapolis (317), Milwaukee (414), San Francisco (415), Toronto, Ontario (416), etc.

Conversely, most area codes with a 0 in the middle and high numbers for the first and third digits were very rural (or had very limited phone service) at the time these area codes were put in place. The most cumbersome area code to dial was the one for the "Inland Empire" of California (909), followed by others like central New Jersey (908), the Dominican Republic (809), Hawaii (808), Alaska (907), Newfoundland (709), western Ontario (807), and the area that is now Chicago's southern suburbs (708).

46 posted on 07/23/2006 6:21:17 PM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: South40
Then there's the prestige factor.

“People are very aware of the 310 area code,” said Darren Lewis, a manager in the music industry who works in Santa Monica. “It has a cachet.”

LOL! Somehow, Mr. Lewis, I think you'll live through this.

Now, if Lewis adds another phone line to his office, it will start with 424, which he expects will confuse the many people he deals with on the East Coast.

“People are going to wonder where you are,” he said.

Eventually they'll figure it out. Buck up, cowboy! It ain't the end of the world.

47 posted on 07/23/2006 6:24:42 PM PDT by Drew68
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I think Ca-li-for-nee-uh has 41 area codes now, 7 in the SF bay area alone.


48 posted on 07/23/2006 6:34:29 PM PDT by KneelBeforeZod (I have five dollars for each of you)
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To: Melas

11? Most of Texas is 10 digit dialing. Where is the extra digit?

I formerly worked in the yellow pages industry. If I understand it correctly, in California, they dial 1 before the number, even if it is a local call. They have not had 10 digit dialing up until now.

Someone mentioned 713 & 281 in Houston as being a geographical split. When Houston and Dallas got new area codes in the mid 90's, there was originally a geographic split. Houston inside of Beltway 8 kept 713, while outlying areas got the new 281. Same in Dallas, where everything inside of LBJ Freeway kept 214, and the outlying areas got 972. After a few years, in an attempt to preserve phone numbers, those imaginary boundaries were removed, and 713/281 and 214/972 were overlaid on top of each other. In addition, 832 was overlaid on top of 713/281, and 469 was overlaid on top of 214/972.

In Houston, it is possible to have a 713 number for your landline, a 281 number for your fax line, and an 832 number for your cell phone. Same in Dallas with 214/972/469.


49 posted on 07/23/2006 6:35:33 PM PDT by Not A Democrat
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To: Myrddin

" The choice of 7 digit number was made because that's the ideal number for humans to remember."

Those people shouldn't have telephones.

I probably know 20 phone #s that I use, my SS#, bank account #s, etc. and never write any of them down.


50 posted on 07/23/2006 6:37:07 PM PDT by dalereed
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