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News Release
 
Northern Coast to Join 10-digit Dialing in the 503 Area Code
 
November 21, 2006 (2006 - 023)
 
Contacts: Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
 
Salem, OR –Customers in fourteen coastal telephone exchanges will be joining others in the 503 area code who dial ten-digits for local calls. The change will take effect by the spring of 2008 under a plan approved today by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.
 
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) estimates that 14 northern coastal telephone exchanges will use up their remaining telephone numbers within two years.  Under the plan newly issued numbers will have a 971 prefix instead of 503 and callers will have to dial ten digits for local calls.
 
“In 1999, when we approved the 971 overlay for the 503 area code in the Portland and Salem areas, we believed we could put off requiring the northern coast to change to 10-digit dialing for many years.  However, the time will soon be upon us due to growing demand for new telephone numbers” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “The change will not happen overnight, and we will make extensive efforts to get the word out as will the telephone companies.”
 
The 14 coastal exchanges to join the 503/971 area code overlay in 2008 are: Qwest Corporation’s Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Warrenton exchanges; United Telephone Company of the Northwest/Embarq’s Bay City, Beaver, Cloverdale, Garibaldi, Pacific City, Rockaway, and Tillamook exchanges; CenturyTel’s Jewell  and Knappa exchanges; and Nehalem Telecommunications, Inc.’s Nehalem exchange.  
 
The Commission exempted the northern coast in 1999 when it implemented a 971 overlay for the rest of the 503 area code. An overlay option was chosen rather than a geographic split which would have caused thousands of customers to change their phone numbers.
 
The industry will use six months beginning in May of 2007 to begin network preparation and implement customer education. The Commission will hold Open Houses to distribute educational materials to customers along with the phone companies.
 
Until April 27, 2008 both seven-digit and ten-digit local calls will be connected. This is known as permissive dialing.  However, effective April 27, 2008 only ten-digit local calls will go through.
 
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