New Local Dialing Procedure is on the way!

Important Changes in Telephone Dialing Procedure

On February 13, 2008, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia issued an Order approving the implementation of a new area code for use throughout West Virginia. The new area code, 681, will provide additional telephone numbers that are necessary to support residential growth, telecommunications service providers, available telecommunications products and additional lines in West Virginia. The new 681 area code will be available to serve new telephone customers after the March 28, 2009, final implementation date. With the following Frequently Asked Questions, we hope to clarify the impact of deploying the new 681 area code.

Who will be affected by the new area code?

The new 681 area code will serve new customers throughout West Virginia. Essentially, everyone using a telephone in or to West Virginia will be affected.

What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (681) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (304). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code or telephone number.

When will the new 681 area code become effective?

New telephone numbers may be assigned with the new 681 area code beginning March 28, 2009.

How will telephone dialing change?

The way customers dial a local call will change with the implementation of the new area code. Customers will be required to dial 10 digits for all local calls, whether the telephone number they use has a 304 area code or the new 681 area code.

  • For a local call within the same or different area code, customers must dial
    10 digits (Area Code + xxx-xxxx)

  • For a long distance call to either area code, customers must dial 1+10-digits
    (1+Area Code + xxx-xxxx)

  • For operator services, credit card or a third party call to either area code,
    customers must dial 0+10-digits (0+Area Code + xxx-xxxx)

Will there be a change in how I dial other N-1-1 numbers?

No. Customers can continue to dial only three digits to call 211, 411, 711, 811 and 911.

When will customers be required to use this new dialing procedure?

  • Permissive 10-digit dialing begins July 26, 2008, and ends February 27, 2009.
    During the permissive dialing period, local calls can be dialed with either 7 or 10 digits.
    If you forget and use the old dialing procedure of dialing just seven digits, your call will
    still be completed.

  • Mandatory 10-digit dialing begins February 28, 2009. On this date and thereafter, if you
    do not use 10-digit dialing for local calls, your call will not be completed and a recording
    will instruct you to hang up and dial again.

  • Beginning March 28, 2009, new telephone lines or services in West Virginia may be
    assigned numbers with the 681 area code.

What will not change as a result of the new area code?

  • Customers with existing 304 area code telephone numbers will have no change to their area code or their telephone numbers.

  • Local calling areas will remain the same; the price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services will not change. In other words, if it is presently a local call, it will still be a local call without any toll charges.

  • Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 211, 411, 711, 811 and 911.

Will calls between a telephone number with the 304 area code and a telephone number with the 681 area code be considered long distance?

Not necessarily. Calls that were local before the area code change will remain local calls and calls that were long distance will remain long distance.

What should I do to ensure that my home telephone service continues to operate smoothly?

You may want to do some of the following things to make sure your calls will be complete as dialed:

  • Reprogram equipment such as automatic dialers, fax machines and computer modems before the mandatory dialing period begins.

  • Teach families, friends, etc. to dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls.

  • Contact security or alarm vendors to update dial-up numbers to avoid a break in security routines and contacts.

  • Update items such as stationery, checks, etc. to include your area code + telephone number.

  • When asking for someone else’s phone number, remember to ask also for the area code.

What should I do to ensure that my business telephone service continues to operate smoothly?

  • All businesses in West Virginia should verify that their telephone equipment is capable of completing calls to the new 681 area code. Some telephone equipment used by businesses will not recognize the new area code until their equipment has been reprogrammed or upgraded.

  • Businesses may need to reprogram or upgrade their equipment if they use specialized communications equipment such as a PBX, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems or multi-line key systems.

  • Notify alarm service providers of all appropriate area code + telephone number(s) so alarm service records and equipment can be updated as needed.

  • Ensure security door and gate systems are reprogrammed to dial the area code + telephone number, as needed.

  • Check items such as stationery, checks, business cards, advertisements, promotional items, brochures, internet web pages, catalogs, etc. to ensure they include your area code + telephone number.

What other communication services might be affected?

  • Calling features such as Speed Dialing and Call Forwarding may need to be updated to use the 304 or 681 area code 10-digit telephone number for local calls.

  • In addition to any changes in your dialing procedures, services that operate with automatic dialing equipment may require changes or reprogramming. Some examples are life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, security gates, speed-dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail and other similar services.

  • Cell phone users should make certain that telephone numbers programmed within their cell phone directories include the 10-digit number.

  • You may also want to check your personal/business stationery or advertising materials to ensure the area code is included.

Who should I contact if I have any other questions?

If customers have any further questions, they can contact the Public Service Commission of West Virginia at 1-800-344-5113 or


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