New area code 410 starts Nov. 1 in half of state Customers have 1 year to adjust to new number.

October 25, 1991|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Evening Sun Staff

Money Today story on Friday included a list of telephone exchanges that will be getting the 410 area code on Nov. 1. The list did not include 18 exchanges that will be affected. They are: 213, 219, 404, 418, 481, 514, 516, 555, 614, 617, 715, 806, 813, 819, 844, 915, 936, 950, 954, 976. The Evening Sun regrets the error.

A week from now, residents of eastern Maryland will get their choice of two telephone area codes. But it will only last a year.

Beginning next Friday, the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland introduces the 410 area code in the Baltimore metropolitan area, the entire Eastern Shore, Calvert County and most of Carroll, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.


But phone customers can continue to use 301 during the transition year until Nov. 1, 1992. After that date, customers using the 301 code for eastern Maryland will get a recording saying they must use the 410 code. That recording will continue until about the middle of 1993, when the telephone company begins assigning the same exchange numbers in different area codes, according to C&P spokesman Al Burman.

During this grace period, businesses are being urged to change their internal telephone systems and reorder their stationery with the new area code. To help this process along, C&P has distributed posters and brochures about the change to local printing shops.

"There will probably be some increase [in printing business], but not a phenomenal amount," said Lisa B. Schade, communications director of Printing Industries of Maryland and South Pennsylvania, a regional trade group. Because of the yearlong transition period, she expects companies to reorder stationery as they run out.

However, there will be some companies that will discard their current stocks and get new stationery so that they are 100 percent correct. "It really depends on how orientated they are to the 100 percent ideal," Schade said.

Curry Copy Center, a print shop on Charles Street, has produced special brochures with a bold "410" on the front. Nancy E. Ebert, manager of the business, said the print shop put the brochures on its front counter about a month ago. "We haven't gotten a great demand yet," she said. "People as of now are changing when they reorder."

But she expects some customers to "panic" as the deadline of Nov. 1, 1992, approaches.

C&P, a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic Corp. of Philadelphia, is urging businesses to reprogram their internal telephone systems so as to recognize 410 as an area code, Burman said. If this is not done, people using the systems will not be able to make outgoing calls using the 410 area code. However, the unchanged systems will still be able to receive calls from people using the 410 code, Burman said.

People with phones with speed dialing features should also change the programmed numbers, he said.

C&P publicity about the change so far has been limited to the printing shop notices and occasional notices on the back of telephone bills, which started in July. The changeover is also the most requested subject for company's public speakers program, said.

The public relations campaign will move into high gear in February next year and will include newspaper and billboard advertising, according to C&P spokeswoman Jeanine Smetana. Also in February, telephone bills will have the customer's number include the 410 area code. Then in March, April and May the company will send out new "IQ Cards," Bell Atlantic's own telephone credit card, she said.

The telephone company said the new code is necessary because the supply of telephone numbers has to be increased to meet the demand for such services as mobile phones, lines for fax machines and beepers.

With the additional area code, C&P will be able to double the amount of numbers -- enough to satisfy demand for the next 22 years, according to the company, which estimates the cost of the conversion at $10 million.

The rest of the state, including the suburbs of Washington, will retain the 301 area code. This will include Southern Maryland counties west of the Patuxent River, Prince George's and Montgomery counties, most of Frederick County and all of the Western Maryland counties.

The dividing line was determined on the basis of where it would have the least impact, be the most economical and where it would coincide with natural boundaries. There will be no change in rates customers are charged and there will be no change in local calling areas, C&P has said.

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