HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today encouraged residents and businesses across Central Pennsylvania served by the 717 area code to prepare for the upcoming switch to mandatory 10-digit dialing for all local calls.
Starting on August 26, callers in the 717 area who attempt to make calls using only a seven-digit number will reach a recorded announcement instructing them to hang up and redial using the area code plus the seven-digit number. The switch to 10-digit dialing is required for the activation of a new “overlay” area code, which will serve the entire 16-county region included in the 717 service area. That new area code – “223” – is being put into service because the remaining supply of available 717 telephone numbers is close to exhaustion.
“To begin preparing for 10-digit dialing in the 717 area code, start looking at the devices you have by making sure they include all the area codes you need, including 717,” said Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “Also check devices like medical alert systems, alarm systems, and any other systems that automatically make calls, to be sure they are set up for 10-digit dialing – and in the future, when you start adding new numbers, be sure you include the area code.”
The list of devices that consumers should check, to verify they are configured for 10-digit dialing, includes:
Mobile phones, landline phones & tablets and fax machines that can save/store phone numbers.
Life-safety & medical alert systems.
Alarm/security systems and security gates.
Call-forwarding settings & voicemail services.
Internet dial-up systems.
Automatic dialing equipment & software.
Any other device that can save, store and automatically dial phone numbers.
NOTE: If you have questions about the compatibility of or programming of a device, contact your equipment or service provider.
Since the spring, telephone carriers across the region have been providing their customers with educational materials about the upcoming dialing changes – encouraging them to begin voluntarily using 10-digit dialing for calls within the 717/223 service area and also checking the telephone numbers stored on their phones or other devices to ensure that they include the full 10-digit number.
According to Neustar, Inc., the neutral third party area code relief planner for Pennsylvania, the dialing plan for the 717/223 area code is as follows:
Local & Toll calls from the 717/223 area to other numbers inside the 717/223 area:
Dial 10-digits (717 or 223 + XXX-XXXX)
Local & Toll Calls from the 717/223 area to numbers in another area code:
Dial 1 + 10-Digits (1 + XXX-XXX-XXXX)
Operator Services (Credit card, collect, third party):
Dial 0 + 10-digit (0 + XXX-XXX-XXXX)
The Commission’s Order approving the overlay plan specifies that any new numbers for the 223 overlay area code shall not be released until Sept. 26, 2017, and that requests for numbers in the 717 area code will continue to be honored as long as resources are available.
The overlay area code relief option was supported by the majority of individuals who submitted written comments or testified at PUC hearings, along with the telecommunications industry. Overlay area codes have now been approved for most of Pennsylvania and are in use across much of the country.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No.: P-2015-2510230