Businesses and consumers should start preparing now - Local 10-digit dialing: Coming soon to regions served by the 418 area code

    QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - According to a decision announced
today by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
(CRTC), residents of the regions served by the 418 area code in Québec, will
be asked to dial 10 digits - the area code followed by the seven-digit phone
number - for all local calls as of June 21, 2008. The introduction of 10-digit
dialing will pave the way for the addition of area code 581 in September 2008,
as the 418 area code reaches capacity.
    This geographic area has a population of 1.2 million and includes: Québec
City, Chicoutimi, Baie-Comeau, Rivière-du-Loup, Rimouski, Sept-Iles,
Schefferville, Chibougamau, St-Georges and Thetford Mines. Local 10-digit
dialing is being introduced in these regions in response to the strong demand
for phone numbers. It will also provide a uniform local dialing method across
the province.
    The Telecommunications Alliance, a grouping of Québec's major
telecommunications companies, is spearheading an information campaign about
local 10-digit dialing aimed at business and residential customers in these
    "Having already successfully transitioned to local 10-digit dialing
elsewhere in Québec and in many regions in Canada, we are confident the
changes will be seamless for residents and businesses," said Lucie Papineau
Pugliese, communications consultant and spokesperson for the
Telecommunications Alliance. "In order to minimize impact, we recommend that
people start reprogramming their equipment to comply with 10-digit dialing as
soon as possible. Most telecommunications companies operating in the 418 area
have already prepared their networks for this local dialing method."
    Consumers should add the 418 area code to programmed numbers on all of
their telecommunications devices and verify that their alarm systems are
compatible with local 10-digit dialing. Companies that use numerous
telecommunications systems and devices should also take the necessary steps to
update their equipment. They cannot afford to wait until the last minute.
    Local ten-digit dialing is becoming normal practice across North America.
This new dialing method will also be introduced in Alberta and British
Columbia in June of 2008.

    New area code

    Starting in September 2008, a new area code, 581, will be added in the
418 region using the overlay method. This new code will coexist with the
current code and will cover the same geographic area. The overlay method has
no impact on existing phone numbers. The 581 area code will only be assigned
to new numbers on an as needed basis.
    When a new area code is added, 10-digit dialing needs to be mandatory for
all local calls, so that identical numbers can exist in separate area codes.

    The Telecommunications Alliance

    The Telecommunications Alliance, whose members include Bell, TELUS,
Vidéotron, Rogers, Télébec, Sogetel, Fido, Allstream as well as telephone
companies represented by the Association des Compagnies de Téléphone du
Québec, was formed to spearhead this communication initiative. Interested
parties can find more information on 10-digit dialing across Canada at

For further information:

For further information: Cristine Tessier, Optimum Public Relations,
(514) 985-8204,

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