After adding up the costs, overlay is best solution

October 03, 1995

In Your Sept. 6 editorial, ''New Area Code: SOS,'' you called on the Maryland Public Service Commission to do what is necessary to ''please Marylanders.'' But at the same time, your support for a geographic split solution ignores the fact that business owners are citizens of Maryland.

In your analysis you cite the inconvenience caused by dialing 10-digits for local calls with an overlay solution. However, you fail to mention that many Marylanders today and many more in the future will have to dial 10 digits under any alternative. You also fail to mention the very substantial expenses that businesses in this state will incur if a geographic split alternative is implemented.

You overlook the importance of the fact that no number changes are required with the overlay solution. About half of the businesses in Maryland were required to change area codes in 1992, when the new 410 area code was introduced. This caused them to incur expenses for changing stationery, re-painting vehicles, updating advertising and advising vendors and customers of the number changes. If another geographic split is implemented, no matter how the boundary lines are drawn, half the business customers in Maryland will be forced to incur these same expenses. And worse yet, by everyone's estimate, further splits could be required in the near future.

The overlay option is the most viable solution since future demands for more numbers could be met by simply assigning additional area codes to the same geographic areas. Therefore, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce supports the overlay option as the best solution for the Maryland business community.

Champe C. McCulloch

Annapolis

The writer is president, Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

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