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News Release
 
Era of Seven-Digit Dialing Coming to an End in 541 Area Code
 
Dec 18, 2009 (2009-020)
 
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.  Soon seven-digit dialing won’t be enough. Beginning Jan. 10, 2010 Oregonians who live in the 541 area code must also dial a three-digit area code for their local calls to be connected. If you dial incorrectly you will get a recorded announcement instructing you to hang up and dial again with 10 digits. Customers have been able to make calls by dialing either 7 or 10 digits since July 12.
 
Customers with existing 541 area code telephone numbers will continue to use their same area code and seven digit telephone number.   It may take some time before you begin seeing phone numbers with the new 458 area code.  Phone companies will first use their inventory of 541 phone numbers. However, after February 10, 2010, they may assign numbers with the 458 area code.
 
The Commission approved the additional area code last year after a thorough study and public hearings to prevent a shortage of phone numbers. The 541 area code is projected to run out of available telephone numbers in early 2010.
 
“It’s a simple fact that demand for phone numbers is growing. Households used to have just one phone, it’s not uncommon now for each member of a household to have their own phone,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “With the change all Oregonians will have ten-digit dialing but more importantly it will ensure we have enough phone numbers for at least the next 20 years.”
 
The 541/458 area code generally covers all of the state except the greater Portland area and northern coast. With this change Oregon will have four area codes.
 
In 1995, the Commission approved Oregon’s second area code. Northwest Oregon kept 503 and the rest of the state received the 541 area code. In 2000, the 503 area code went to ten-digit dialing after the Commission added the 971 area code to the area covered by the 503 area code.
 
Some things will NOT change as a result of the new area code.
  • Customers with existing 541 area code telephone numbers will continue to use their same area code and seven digit telephone number.  
  • Local calling areas will remain the same; the price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change.  In other words, if it is a local call now, it will continue to be a local call. 
  • Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 911 and 411. If available, customers can still dial 211, 311, 511, 611, 711 and 811. 
 
There are some things you can do to ensure that your home telephone service continues to operate smoothly.
  • If necessary, reprogram equipment such as automatic-dialers, fax machines, and computer modems before Jan. 10, 2010.
  • Be sure everyone in your household is aware that 10-digit dialing for all local calls will be required.
 
What should business do?
  • All businesses in Oregon should verify that their telephone equipment is capable of completing calls to the new 458 area code. Some telephone equipment used by businesses will not recognize the new area code until their equipment has been reprogrammed or upgraded. To enable verification that equipment can complete calls to the new area code, special test numbers are available until April 10, 2010.  The test numbers are:
               Test Number 458-222-8378 (TEST) is local to the Coos Bay area
               Test Number 458-333-8373 (TEST) is local to the Bend area
               Test Number 458-444-8378 (TEST) is local to the Ontario area 
     When making a test call that is long distance, dial 1+ the 10-digit number.
  • Businesses may need to reprogram or upgrade their equipment if they use specialized communications equipment such as a PBX, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems, or multi-line key systems.
 
When will you begin seeing phone numbers with the new 458 area code?
  • It won’t happen immediately.  Phone companies will first assign their current inventory of 541 phone numbers. However, after February 10, 2010, they may assign numbers with the new 458 area code.
 
Who should you contact if you have any other questions? 
 
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  • Customers will keep their current telephone number
  • Provides consistent 10-digit dialing throughout Oregon
  • Provides enough phone numbers to last over 20 years
 
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