British Columbians will soon need to dial 10 digits



    VANCOUVER, June 7 /CNW/ - All British Columbians will soon be required to
dial 10 digits instead of seven when making local calls, according to a
decision announced today by the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
    The CRTC has approved the industry's plan to extend the 778 area code
currently in use in B.C.'s Lower Mainland to all of B.C. to meet the
increasing demand for phone numbers in both provinces. Because there will two
area codes covering all regions of the province, residents and businesses will
have to dial 10 digits for all local calls, beginning September 12, 2008.
    A "permissive dialing" period will be implemented to help callers get
used to dialing 10 digits for all local calls. During that period, starting
June 23 next year, callers who dial seven digits will be reminded to dial 10
digits.
    In the near future, consumers in the region currently covered by 250 only
who apply for new telephone numbers may receive them from the new area code -
778. No customers will be required to change their existing telephone number,
nor will the geographic boundaries that govern long distance calling be
affected.
    The Western Telecommunications Alliance, a grouping of Canada's major
telecommunications companies, is working to inform all consumers and
businesses about the upcoming change to 10-digit dialing. In order to ensure a
seamless transition, businesses and consumers are encouraged to start making
the necessary changes right away by reprogramming various communications
systems and equipment, including telephones, wireless equipment, computers and
fax machines. They should also contact their alarm companies to ensure that
security systems are set up for 10-digit dialing.
    All three-digit numbers, including 211, 311, 411, 611, and 911 emergency
service (where applicable) will remain the same.
    Ten-digit dialing is becoming normal practice across North America. Many
urban centres across Canada and the United States have already adopted this 
method of ensuring there are enough telephone numbers for all consumers.

    About the Telecommunications Alliance

    The Telecommunications Alliance is partnership between the major
telecommunications companies and industry associations across Canada. The
Alliance's mandate is to educate and inform consumers and businesses about the
implementation of 10-digit dialing.





For further information:

For further information: Rebecca Catley, Rogers, (604) 431-1122,
rebecca.catley@rci.rogers.com; Shawn Hall, TELUS, (604) 697-8176,
shawn.hall@telus.com; Jeff Meerman, Bell, (403) 410-4221,
jeff.meerman@bell.ca

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WESTERN TELECOMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE

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