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10-digit dialling delayed by CRTC


Seven-digit diallers, rejoice.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission has granted a reprieve to businesses and residences in the 604 area code – 10-digit dialling for every phone call, which was originally scheduled to start on May 26, won’t start until Aug. 11.

After Aug. 11, every time you dial seven digits for a local call, your call will be interrupted by a recorded announcement reminding the caller to include the area code next time. The call will be connected, but the recording will disrupt local data calls using fax machines and modems. Customers are encouraged to get into the habit of adding the area code as soon as possible.

The growing population and the proliferation of electronic devices, such as pagers, cell phones, and fax machines, prompted the CRTC to add a new 778 area code for the Greater Vancouver Regional District, Abbotsford and Mission. In these areas 10-digit dialling will become mandatory on Nov. 3.

Before Aug. 11, residents and businesses should:

• Reprogram speed diallers, auto-diallers and PBX systems for 10-digit dialling (PBX equipment may need to be reprogrammed before alarm equipment is able to dial 10 digits. Customers should contact their alarm service provider for more details);

• Program alarm monitoring devices to accommodate 10-digit dialling;

• Update fax machine group calling lists to include 10-digit numbers;

• Ensure local numbers and lists on personal computers include the correct local 10-digit number for modem dial-ups;

• Ensure apartment intercoms and other private-dial entry access systems are programmed for local 10-digit dialling.

An industry group made up of 12 local telecommunications service providers and local interest groups developed the area code relief plan for the introduction of the new 778 area code and 10-digit dialling. The relief plan was approved by the CRTC in August of last year.

Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles are among the list of cities that have already made the switch to 10-digit dialling.