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BELL OF PENNSYLVANIA TO CHANGE WAY YOU DIAL; NECESSITATED BY SHORTAGE OF TELEPHONE NUMBERS

 PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A nationwide shortage of telephone numbers is forcing Bell of Pennsylvania to change the way customers in the 717 area code dial some of their calls.
 The dialing change that goes into effect Aug. 1, 1994, will ensure that customers have phone numbers to meet their needs into the 21st century.
 To make the change as painless as possible for customers, the company is launching an extensive information program well in advance. Throughout the month of October, residence customers will receive letters notifying them of the change. Included with the letters is a yellow list of local telephone exchanges specific to each customer. The list will help customers identify which exchanges are within their local calling area. Business customers were notified of the dialing change in July.
 Beginning Nov. 1, customers placing calls to numbers within the 717 area no longer will have to dial the "1" prefix. They simply will dial the seven digits of the telephone number.
 Customers will continue to dial the "1" prefix when placing direct- dialed calls to numbers outside the 717 area code.
 The dialing changes will not affect customer bills, the cost of calls, local calling areas or customers' telephone numbers.
 To help customers adjust to the dialing change, calls will go through after the Nov. 1 changeover even if customers dial the "1" prefix for calls within their area code. That adjustment period will end Aug. 1, 1994, when the "1" prefix must be dropped for calls in the 717 area.
 The new dialing procedures are necessary because, beginning in 1995, new area codes put in service across the country will be identical to the first three digits of some local telephone numbers. There must be a means for telephone switching equipment to differentiate between a call going outside an area code from a call placed to a number within the area code. Modified use of the "1" prefix will make that distinction.
 Residence customers with questions about the new dialing procedures may call the Bell of Pennsylvania We Can Help Center toll-free at 800-555-5000. Business customers may call their Bell of Pennsylvania service representative. The number is listed in the front of the telephone directory.
 There are a number of ways for customers to distinguish between local and toll calls within the 717 area code: keep the yellow list of local exchanges near the phone as a handy reference guide; look in the Customer Guide section of the Bell of Pennsylvania white pages directory where there's a description of your local calling area; or use the new Toll Information Hotline by calling 800-717-TOLL (800-717-8655). The hotline is both voice and tone interactive for use by customers with rotary and push-button telephones.
 Bell of Pennsylvania is a wholly owned subsidiary of Philadelphia- based Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL). Bell Atlantic is also the parent company of New Jersey Bell, Diamond State Telephone (Delaware) and Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., companies which provide a full array of local exchange telecommunications services in the mid-Atlantic region.
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 -0- 10/7/93
 /CONTACT: Sharon Shaffer of Bell of Pennsylvania, 800-491-0190/
 (BEL)


CO: Bell of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 7, 1993
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