Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Nov. 15, 1999

Waverly to get new area code Feb. 27

Waverly is one of many towns whose 612 area code will be changed to 763 beginning Feb. 27.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission determined that a shortage of telephone prefixes would be resolved by splitting the region served by the 612 area code into three different area codes: 612, 763 and 952.

The 763 area code will also serve suburbs to the north and northwest of Minneapolis including Albertville, Becker, Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Buffalo, Cambridge, Champlin, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Corcoran, Dayton, Delano, Elk River, Fridley, Golden Valley, Isanti, Lexington, Medina, Maple Grove, Monticello, Mounds View, Osseo, Plymouth, Princeton, Rogers, St. Francis, and St. Michael.

The 952 area code will serve suburbs to the south and southwest of Minneapolis including Apple Valley, Belle Plaine, Bloomington, Burnsville, Chaska, Cologne, Edina, Elko, Hamburg, Hopkins, Lakeville, Mayer, Minnetonka, Mound, New Prague, Norwood Young America, Orono, St. Louis Park, Victoria, Waconia, Watertown and Wayzata.

Callers will be able to use either the new or old area code to complete a call during a transition period that will last over 10 months. Also during the transition period, a caller may dial either seven or 10 digits to complete a local call between area codes.

Jan. 14, 2001 has been set as the date for the transition period to end. On that date, use of the correct area code will become mandatory and callers must dial 10 digits (the area code plus the seven-digit phone number) to complete a local call between area codes.

To ensure Minnesota consumers are fully informed, a customer education committee, established by the telecommunications industry, has developed an extensive customer education plan. The plan, which was filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, will serve as a blueprint for all Minnesota telecommunications companies to use in educating their customers.

The customer education plan includes bill inserts; brochures; informative letters to chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, business and other membership organizations, development organizations, business and other membership organizations; letters to consumer and special interest groups; information available on Web sites, and a number of other steps. In addition, advertising campaigns will include radio, print and TV ads.

The mix of message mediums built into the plan will provide a variety of ways consumers will be exposed to information. The intent is to break through the clutter of information people are exposed to on a daily basis and impress consumers with two points:

1) the region served by the 612 area code has been split into three different area codes and the new 763 and 952 area codes have been added, and

2) it is necessary to dial 10 digits (the area code plus the seven digit phone number) to complete a local call from one area code to another. If this number was toll-free previously, it will continue to be toll-free.

The customer education committee, co-chaired by the Minnesota Telephone Association and U S West, includes representatives from local telephone companies, long distance providers, wireless carriers, directory publishers, the Minnesota Telephone Association, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and the Disability Institute.

Running out of telephone number prefixes is not a problem unique to Minnesota but rather a nationwide phenomenon driven by the dramatic growth in demand for new telephone numbers for such services as fax machines, pagers, wireless telephones, second telephone lines, and competitive services.

When area codes were first assigned in 1947, there were only 87 serving the United States and Canada. Today there are nearly 300, and about half of the new area codes have been added in the past four years.

For more area code information, visit the following Web site at http://www.mnta.org.


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