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Ten-digit dialing is coming to local calls in Newfoundland and Labrador next summer.

Starting Aug. 17, 2018, residents will need to dial 10 digits – the area code followed by the seven-digit phone number – for all local calls. The introduction of 10-digit dialing is the result of a decision by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and will pave the way for the addition of a new area code, 879, in November 2018, as the 709 area code reaches capacity.

The ever-growing use of communications services is driving a huge increase in demand for phone numbers in the region, which means 10-digit local dialing will be required for all landline and wireless local calls. This dialing method allows for the introduction of a new area code that will create millions of new phone numbers.

The Telecommunications Alliance, a group of major Canadian telecommunications companies, is leading a public awareness campaign to inform residents and business customers across Newfoundland and Labrador about local 10-digit dialing.

“Most regions in Canada have already successfully transitioned to local 10-digit dialing and we are confident these changes will be seamless for residents and businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Glen Brown, Director of the Canadian Numbering Administrator. “In order to ensure a successful transition, we recommend that people start reprogramming their equipment for 10-digit local dialing now, as telecommunications companies are already able to support 10-digit dialed calls. By adopting 10-digit dialing early, residents and businesses will be well-prepared by August 2018.”

Residents will need to add the 709 area code to programmed numbers in all of their communications devices and equipment (including phones, auto dialers, fax machines, computers and lifeline equipment) and verify that their alarm systems are compatible with local 10-digit dialing. Companies that use numerous communications systems and devices should also take the necessary steps to update their equipment. All adjustments need to be completed before August 17, 2018. Additional information is available on the Telecommunications Alliance website at dial10.ca.

Starting on Nov. 24, 2018, the area code 879 will be added in Newfoundland and Labrador using the overlay method. This means the 879 area code will coexist with the current 709 area code and will cover the same geographic area. Customers with telephone numbers that include the 709 area code will retain their numbers. Numbers with the new 879 area code will only be assigned to customers when the existing inventory of 709 numbers is depleted. Introducing a new area code does not affect local calling areas in any way. Adding a new area code to a calling region requires changes in local dialing habits. Since the same phone number can now exist in both area codes, 10-digit local dialing – the area code followed by the seven-digit phone number – is necessary in order for local calls to be connected and reach their appropriate destinations.

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