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Jul 17, 2015 10:03 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Suffolk County's New Area Code To Go Into Effect Next Summer; Officials Urge Dialing Changes Now

Jul 21, 2015 4:27 PM

A new 934 area code for Suffolk County won’t go into full effect until next summer. Even so, local residents are being told to start using current area codes when dialing—even when making local calls—to prepare for the switch.

New York State Public Service Commission officials call this the “permissive dialing phase,” because seven-digit phone numbers within the 631 area code will still connect until mid-June 2016. After that, all calls within Suffolk County will need to be dialed with 10 digits—the area code, plus the seven-digit number—even if the number being dialed is in the same area code.

For calls outside 631 and 934, phone users still will need to dial 1, plus the area code, plus the seven-digit number.

The new area code will apply only to customers who request new service, switch services, or add an extra line, according to a release last week from the PSC. Current phone numbers will remain unchanged.

The commission calls the 934 code an “overlay.” It will encompass the same geographical area as the current 631 area code. As of next July, all residents who request new phone numbers in Suffolk County are expected to be assigned the 934 area code, because by then 631 phone numbers will be used up.

“Based upon its review, the commission determined that an overlay is the preferred option because it is easier to implement from a technical standpoint,” said James Denn, the PSC’s director of public affairs, “and less expensive from a customer standpoint, especially for business customers who could be forced to change signage and branding in the event of a geographic split.”

The geographic split would have divided Suffolk County into two parts and forced half the population to change phone numbers to match the area code assigned to its respective geographic location.

Back in 2000, officials chose this “geographic split” option, which subsequently separated—area code-wise—Nassau County from Suffolk County. Nassau residents were able to keep their 516 area code and existing phone numbers, while Suffolk residents were assigned the new 631 area code.

The geographic split proved disruptive to businesses and individuals alike—security systems had to be reprogrammed, for example, and wireless subscribers were forced to reprogram their cellphones to reflect the new area code for local contacts.

“We would have had to physically go to all our accounts and change them,” said Dave Brazati, general manager at Bellringer Security Systems in Southampton, of the geographic option. He noted that it would have been extremely expensive for the company, as it was in 2000, because it could not charge customers for the change.

To prepare to implement the 934 area code next summer, any new Bellringer security system installed in Suffolk County now will have the 631 area code added, Mr. Brazati said.

Suffolk residents will have to update their contact lists, answering machines, fax machines, alarm systems and other automated programs to ensure they all include the area code. The permissive dialing phase should help minimize confusion when the 934 area code arrives next summer, according to the PSC.

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Bull!

They should have gone the "geographic" route and let the five Eastern towns stay with 631 -- that would have lasted forever.

The NYS PSC are a bunch of political hacks given a soft place to land after being voted out of office!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 17, 15 10:37 AM
2 members liked this comment
Diaingl 10 numbers is just dumb. I agree with the previous comment. There were no problems when Suffolk was split from the 516 code took the new 631 code.
By Tuckahoe Ted (53), southampton on Jul 17, 15 11:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
So, this means that over seven million distinct phone numbers exist, and are in use under the 631 area code? Even if only half of the possible exchanges are in use, that's still 3 million phones.

I call bull***.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 17, 15 9:30 PM
I agree Mr Z
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jul 18, 15 8:30 AM
Who dials a phone anymore? Just saying...
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Jul 20, 15 4:35 PM