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Mandatory 10-digit Dialing Is Here

Staff Report for Island Eye News

Beginning Sept. 19, all local calls must be placed using the 10-digit telephone number (area code plus the 7-digit telephone number).

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, a new 854 area code will be added to the 843 area code region, which generally covers the coastal counties, and principally serves the communities of Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach and Florence.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission ordered an Area Code Overlay for the area served by 843. The new 854 area code will be “overlaid” or superimposed over the same geographical area as the 843 area code. Beginning Oct. 19, those in the 843 area code region requesting new service, an additional line, or in some cases moving their service may be assigned a number with the 854 area code. The dialing change paves the way for the addition of the new 854 area code.

What you need to know:

Existing phone numbers, including current area code, will not change.

Callers will need to dial area code plus phone number for all local calls.

Callers will continue to dial 1 plus area code plus phone number for all long distance calls unless their current plan requires something different.

What is a local call now will remain a local call.

The price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.

Callers can still dial just three digits to reach 911.

What you need to do:

Make sure to identify your telephone number as a 10-digit number (area code plus 7-digit telephone number), and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates and customers, etc. Make sure all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a 7-digit number have been reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedure and recognize the new 854 area code as a valid area code. Some examples are life safety systems or medical devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.

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