Thursday, August 05, 1999

Bell might contest new area for N. Ky.

Replacing 606 called confusing

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FRANKFORT — Cincinnati Bell officials say they might petition the Kentucky Public Service Commission to reconsider removing Northern Kentucky from the 606 area code.

        The commission announced Wednesday that 19 counties from the Ohio River to south of Lexington will be carved out of the 606 area code and will receive a new, as yet undisclosed, code. Eastern and southeastern Kentucky counties will retain 606.

        Cincinnati Bell spokeswoman Libby Korosec said the utility feels the change will create confusion and be expensive and inconvenient for customers.

        Amanda Hale, a Public Service Commission spokeswoman, said the commission's decision was based on information gleaned from public meetings in April. She said Bell has the right to request a rehearing, but the commission could deny the request.

        Ms. Hale said people will still be able to dial seven digits to make calls within the commonwealth. But someone calling from across state lines between Ohio and Kentucky, a distance that could be as short as a half-mile, might have to dial the area code as well.

        The new area code will not be implemented until April 2000, and dialing will include both the old and new codes until October 2000, when the new code becomes mandatory.

        The change will have a major impact on the international marketing efforts of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, according to spokesman Ted Bushelman.

        “We're looking at this from a position of common sense,” Mr. Bushelman said Wednesday. “It's not just a matter of changing stationery and business cards. ... Tourism officials in other countries all have the 606 area code to contact us. This could be a major expense for us to fix.”


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