Mississippi to get new area code soon

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 31, 2004

Using another area code to call your next-door neighbor could become a reality in the near future.

Mississippi residents within the 601 area code will soon be required to dial a 10-digit number when making local calls.

And BellSouth has introduced a new area code number for central Mississippi. The new area code, 769, will overlay the existing code and will be assigned to telephone numbers after the 601 numbers have been used up, which may occur next year.

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Regional Manager Rick Stewart said the new area code came about as a result of the increased demand for cell phones, faxes, modems and other telecommunication devices.

&uot;There’s a tremendous growth in the telecommunication industry,&uot; Stewart said.

BellSouth spokesperson Mike Walker said the overlay has been used in many other states.

Walker also noted that the new area code is an industrywide change and affects BellSouth customers as well as customers with other companies.

On March 14, 2005, 10-digit dialing will become a requirement for completing local calls.

The new area code overlay will affect all customers in the 601 area code.

Local residents won’t be required to change their phone numbers or dial 1 or 0 when making local calls.

BellSouth’s Web site notes that special services that use three-digit numbers including 911, 411, as well as 1 + 10-digit long distance will remain unchanged.

Although changes to local numbers aren’t necessary, the site recommends having all stored local telephone numbers as well as fax machines, modems, Internet connections, private branch exchange systems, wireless phones, etc. reprogrammed to include the area code.