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.
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.
I have to dial the 1 first from landlines but can do straight 10-digit dialing from a cell phone.
My question exactly. Where is the 11th digit coming from?
You have to dial "1" first before dialing an area code. That's the 11th digit.
The fact is, the 1 accommodates faster call handling than just using 7 and 10 digit numbers. On manually dialed calls, the 1 tells the equipment to expect 10 more digits before routing the call. If no 1 is dialed, the equipment expects 7 digits and routes the call as soon as the 7th digit is dialed. Without the 1, equipment accepting manually dialed calls, would have to wait after the 7th digit to see if 3 more digits were coming (inter-digit time) before routing the call. Cell phones dont have this problem even on manually dialed calls since the called numbers are sent out in on fast data stream when the SEND button is pressed so the 7 or 10 digit number issue is resolved instantly.
For you younger folks, substitute press for dial when you read this.
For those of you that find old named prefixes nostalgic, Ive had the following in my lifetime:
CLinton Eagle rock
JEfferson Santa Ana
Somehow even Zenith seemed more personal than 9-1-1.