BellSouth: 10-digit dialing on the way
from staff and wire reports
June 16, 2004
Residents in Meridian and Central Mississippi will be required to dial the 601 area code before making any phone calls including local calls beginning next year.
Officials with the Mississippi Public Service Commission said the move will begin March 14, 2005, and is necessary because of a growing population and an increasing use of cell phones and fax machines.
A letter sent by BellSouth to phone customers this week outlined the plans.
The letter also said an overlay area code will be added to the area now served by the 601 area code. An overlay is when a second area code is added to the same region.
The new area code will be 769.
Customers' current phone numbers will not change and the local calling area will remain the same. New phone numbers in the area including in Meridian will have the 769 area code.
Calls from a 601 or 769 number to another area code will be long-distance calls.
A transition period will begin July 19 during which customers may either dial the 10-digit or 7-digit number.
Central District Public Service Commissioner Neilsen Cochran said the overlay plan is a better option than giving a part of the current 601 area another area code.
Cochran said the overlay plan would also save business the expense of reprogramming their phones because their current number would remain the same.
The 769 area code will be the fourth area code in Mississippi. North Mississippi is served by the 662 area code and south Mississippi uses the 228 area code.
Other areas of Mississippi will probably have overlays added within three years, Cochran said.