Mandatory 10-digit dialing starts at the end of this week in half the state.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) reminds residents and businesses to start using all ten digits when dialing phone numbers in the 715 area code region, even for local calls. Gary Evenson, with the PSC explains area code relief is being implemented in the region by means of an ‘overlay.’ “What that means is that there will be two area codes that coexist in the current 715 area. There’ll be the 715 area code and then the 534 area code.”
Evenson says the reason for the additional area code is because new technology requires the use of more telephone numbers, resulting in a relatively new phenomenon known as area code “exhaust” — a shortage of numbers. Some customers are already using all ten digits during the transition period, which comes to an end on Saturday. He says, “We’ve been in what’s call a ‘permissive dialing period’ for the last several months to give people a chance to get used to it and to make those kinds of changes.”
Also, Evenson reminds residents to re-program any equipment that is currently programmed to dial a seven-digit local number — devices such as fax machines, Internet dial-up, alarm and security systems, speed dialers, call-forward settings, and voice mail. Residents will still dial just three digits to reach 911, or any other three-digit codes available for service in one’s community. The price of local calls will not change.