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WHAT'S IN A NUMBER? MICHIGAN BELL INFORMATION BLITZ HOLDS THE ANSWER (IT'S 810)

 DETROIT, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Michigan Bell launched a massive public information campaign this week with mailings designed to help 1.8 million homes and businesses gear up for the introduction of a new area code next year.
 Customers will be able to use the new 810 area code starting Dec. 1, 1993, when it will be recognized nationally. During the transition, customers will be able to reach a telephone number in the 810 area code by dialing either 313 or 810.
 Starting Aug. 10, 1994, callers will only be able to reach numbers in the new area code by dialing 810.
 Nationwide, some 25 other metropolitan regions -- including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco -- have added area codes in recent years.
 Officials from these areas have stressed the need for extensive public education.
 "We'll be talking about it plenty over the next 16 months," said Pamula Woodside, Michigan Bell customer relations manager.
 In addition to the customer mailings, the company later this year will roll out a print and broadcast campaign to remind area customers of the change.
 The mailings remind customers that a special information number has been established to answer their questions: 1-800-831-8989.
 Some 300,000 businesses throughout Michigan will receive a large package of printed materials that includes a checklist of action the firms can take to prepare for the new area code.
 "We are giving businesses the advance notice they'll need to prepare for this momentous change," said Woodside.
 Woodside said businesses need to begin planning changes in stationery, packaging, labels and catalogs; programming for fax machines, modems and speed-call lists; and advertising and sales materials.
 The business mailing contains sample articles businesses can use for in-house newsletters and a sample memo for notifying employees of the new 810 code.
 Letters also are going to about 1.5 million homes affected by the change.
 The plan dividing the existing 313 area code was recommended by a special eight-member advisory committee appointed by local government leaders in the fall of 1991 to decide how best to add the new area code.
 The panel's plan -- publicly unveiled last July -- establishes a boundary line for the new area code that runs roughly along Eight Mile Road, east to Lake St. Clair and west to the limits of the existing 313 area code.
 Telephone customers in Washtenaw and Monroe counties, most of Wayne County and small portions of Jackson, Livingston and Lenawee counties will retain the 313 area code.
 Telephone customers in Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, Genesee, St. Clair and Sanilac counties, as well as small portions of Saginaw, Shiawassee, Livingston, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, will receive the new 810 area code.
 The new area code will have no effect on telephone rates, said Woodside. "What is a local call before the change will be a local call after the change," she said.
 The additional area code is needed because southeastern Michigan is running out of numbers. "The increasing popularity of fax machines, cellular phones, pagers and computers has used up telephone numbers at a rapid pace over the past few years," Woodside said.
 Establishing the new 810 area code will create more than 3 million telephone numbers in southeastern Michigan. The new supply of numbers will take southeastern Michigan into the 21st century.
 -0- 4/8/93
 /CONTACT: Phil Jones, 313-223-7194, Dean Hovey, 313-223-7197, or Dave Ellis, 313-223-7192, all of Michigan Bell/


CO: Michigan Bell ST: Michigan IN: TLS SU: PDT

ML -- DE008 -- 4136 04/08/93 10:04 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 8, 1993
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