Saturday, April 01, 2000

Area-code changes take effect today

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        “Dial the code” day is here.

        Starting today, callers on one side of the Ohio River should dial the area code plus the phone number to reach friends or businesses on the other side.

        On top of that, Northern Kentucky gets its new area code today. The new 859 — which spells UKY on phone sets — replaces the familiar 606 in 19 counties.

        “It is two changes at once,” says Libby Korosec, a spokeswoman for Cincinnati Bell. “It's something that folks are going to have to get used to.”

        The change means Ohio callers with the 513 area code must dial 859, then the usual seven digits, to reach Northern Kentucky. Kentucky callers with the 859 area code must dial 513 to reach Ohio.

        The good news: The 10-digit calls won't cost more because they're still local calls. You don't even have to dial 1 first.

        For the next six months, calls will go through if you forget to dial the area code or dial 606 instead of 859. But starting Oct. 1, misdialed calls won't go through, and a recording will tell callers to redial the 10-digit number with the correct area code.

        Blame technology for the extra digits.

        New cell phones, pagers, fax lines and even lottery machines, automated tellers and grocery checkouts that take credit cards have used up so many phone lines that a new area code was needed.

        By using the area code, Cincinnati Bell will be able to prolong the life of the 513 area code by using the same prefixes on both sides of the river.


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