When people in the 315-area code region pick up their phones to place local calls, they will soon have to start dialing all 10 digits. It's part of New York state's effort to deal with a declining number of available phone numbers in the area with the addition of a new area code.
Residential, business and wireless customers in 18 central and northern counties will be affected by the new requirement, which includes Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Oswego, Otsego, St. Lawrence, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties. There's no extra charge that comes with the additional dialing, but beginning Feb. 11 it will be necessary in order to place a call. Otherwise, you will hear a message like this one from Windstream:
"You must dial an area code plus the seven digit number when placing this call. To repeat the announcement, press one."
The requirement is a precursor to the implementation of the 680 area code that's being phased in for only new phone lines, which will begin in March. The changes are designed to prevent anyone from losing their current phone number, but state officials advise that people ensure any devices connected to phone numbers, like burglar alarms, are updated to include the area code as well.