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Process to add another area code for central, northern New York begins

New York State Public Service Commission

New York officials have been trying to stall the need for a new area code for years by trying to make existing numbers last and getting some digits back, but demand outpaced those efforts. Now, they are beginning to implement a new area code in 18 central and northern New York counties, from St. Lawrence to Chenango and Ontario to Hamilton counties.

But Scott Morris, a senior adviser with the land line and broadband provider Windstream, said there's no need to panic.

"Your telephone number, including your area code, will not change," Morris said. "The price of a call will not change. What’s local now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits that you dial."

The biggest changes begin in February 2017 when the 680 area code will be added only to new phone lines. That's also when people calling a local number will need to dial all 10 digits, which Morris recommends you start practicing now.

"You can begin dialing all 10 digits and again, I would encourage customers to do that to get into the habit," he said.

In the meantime, local phone calls can be made with seven or 10 digits.

Morris said that customers with phone numbers connected to burglar alarms and other devices, like fax machines, should update the automatic dialing to include all 10 digits. And they should add the area code to any other materials that have your phone number, such as a pet's ID tag.