Area Codes Common Questions and Answers
1. Why is another area code needed?
• Available telephone numbers in the 503 area code are limited and cannot support the
needed demand for telephone numbers.
2. What is an area code overlay?
• An area code overlay is a form of area code change that adds area code(s) to the same
geographic region. In this case, the 971 area code was previously added to the same geographic
region of the 503 area code with the exception of the coastal area. Now, the entire 503 geographic
region will have the 971 area code and the 503 area code. In many parts of the country, multiple
area codes co-exist within the same geographic region. People with telephone numbers with the 503
area code will retain their current telephone number(s) and area code. People who would like to
have new or additional telephone numbers or telecommunications services may be given telephone
numbers with the new 971 area code.
3. Why was the area code overlay chosen instead of the area code split?
• Traditionally, area codes have been split to provide more prefixes for the
telecommunications industry and its customers, creating smaller geographic areas. As geographic
areas become smaller, it becomes more difficult to subdivide an area code any further without
separating close knit communities of interest or cities. The Oregon Public Utility Commission
(OPUC) determined that the 503 area code had reached that point, thus choosing the area code
overlay instead of the area code split. This overlay is an expansion of the existing 971 overlay
which was implemented previously in all of the 503 area except the coastal area.
4. Will I have to change my telephone number or area code?
• No. Area code overlays allow people to retain their current telephone number(s) and area
code.
5. When will telephone numbers with the new 971 area code be available?
• Telephone numbers with the new 971 area code will be available beginning
April 27, 2008.
6. Will this area code overlay alter how I dial my local calls, i.e. dialing procedure?
• Yes. People must dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls. Even if you
are calling your next door neighbor, you must dial the area code + telephone number (example 503+
123-4567).
• The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires dialing the area code +
telephone number for all calls where an area code overlay exists. The FCC believes this maximizes
numbering resource optimization, minimizes anti-competitive effects due to dialing disparities, and
avoids customer confusion.
7. Who will need to use the new dialing procedure?
• Calls from a landline phone, cellular or mobile phone with telephone numbers with the
503 and 971 area codes will need to dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls.
8.. Will calls to a telephone number with the 503 area code from a telephone number with the
971 area code and vice-versa have to dial “1” + area code + telephone number?
• Yes, if the call is from a landline phone and the call is a long distance call.
• If the call is from a cellular or mobile phone, one may dial just the area code + telephone
number or “1” + area code + telephone number.
9. When will the new dialing procedure begin?
• Starting October 21, 2007, people may use the new dialing procedure. If people forget
and use the old dialing procedure, calls will still be completed.
• Starting April 27, 2008, people must use the new dialing procedure. If people forget and
use the old dialing procedure, calls will not be completed, and a recording will instruct them to
hang up and redial.
10. After April 27, 2008 what happens if 7-digits are dialed for a call?
• If 7-digits is dialed, a recording will instruct the caller to hang up and redial using the new
dialing procedure.
11. Will there be a change in how I dial emergency calls to 9-1-1?
• No. People can still just dial only three digits to reach 9-1-1. No additional digits will be
required to make emergency calls. People can make emergency calls the same way they do today.
12. Will there be a change in how I dial other N-1-1 phone numbers?
• No. If numbers such as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611,711 and 811 are currently available in your
community you can still dial them with just three digits.
13. How will dialing the area code + telephone number impact customer directory listings?
• Your local telecommunications provider will be updating their upcoming directory listings
for all affected communities to identify the associated area code of a telephone number.
Individual customers are responsible for any changes to listings appearing in other
directories. Each customer is responsible for telephone numbers appearing in any display
advertising.
14. What can individuals do to prepare for the area code overlay and new dialing procedures?
• Contact security or alarm vendors to update dial-up numbers to avoid a break in security
routines and contacts.
• Reprogram equipment or features, i.e. automatic dial, speed-dial, call forwarding, modems
for computer or internet dial-up access, etc. programmed to dial seven digits to dial area code +
telephone number.
• Update items like stationary, checks, etc. to include your area code + telephone number.
• Start dialing the area code + telephone number for all calls.
• Teach families, friends, etc. to dial the area code + telephone number for all calls.
• Give your area code + telephone number, not just the telephone number, as needed.
• When asking for someone else’s number, remember to ask for the area code too.
• Remember that the 503 and 971 area codes co-exist within the same geographic region.
15. What can businesses do to prepare for the area code overlay and new dialing procedures?
• Between October 21, 2007 and April 27, 2008, businesses with telephone numbers with
the 503 area code should do the following:
• Notify alarm service providers of all appropriate area code + telephone number(s) so
alarm service records and equipment can be updated as needed.
• Ensure security door and gate systems are reprogrammed to dial area code +
telephone number.
• Reprogram any call-forwarding, automatic-dial or speed-dial features to dial area
code + telephone number.
• Test telephone equipment to determine if it can dial and receive area code +
telephone number. Questions regarding changes in telephone equipment should be
directed to telephone equipment vendors.
• Start dialing the area code + telephone number for all calls.
• Update items like stationary, checks, business cards, advertisements, promotional
items, brochures, internet web pages, catalogs, etc. to include your area code +
telephone number.
• Teach employees, coworkers, customers, etc. to dial the area code + telephone number
for all calls.
• Give your area code + telephone number, not just the telephone number, as needed.
• When asking for someone else’s number, remember to also ask for the area code.
• Remember that the 503 and 971 area codes co-exist within the same geographic region.
16. Do cellular telephones and other wireless communication devices need to be
reprogrammed for dialing area code + telephone number?
• Customers may need to re-enter telephone numbers to include the area code.
17. How can businesses be affected by the new 971 area code?
• Between October 21, 2007 and April 27, 2008, businesses with telephone numbers with
the 503 area code should do the following:
• Verify with your telephone equipment vendors to ensure that all special
communications equipment, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial or multi-line key
systems can dial area code + telephone number. Some private phone systems like
Private Branch Exchanges (PBXs) may require modifications or upgrades to dial or
accept + area code + telephone number. If modifications or upgrades occur after
April 27, 2008, there may be interruptions in equipment service and performance.
18. Who is responsible for costs incurred to update customer phone equipments or features, if
necessary?
• Individual consumers are responsible for the costs incurred to update or reprogram their
customer phone equipment or features.
19. What will NOT change due to the area code overlay?
• Cost of calls
• Local calling areas
• All existing 503 telephone numbers
• Three digit calling to 911, 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 and 811
20. Will the cost of a call differ because of dialing the area code + telephone number?
• No.
21. Will calls between a telephone number with a 503 area code and a telephone number with
a 971 area code be considered long-distance?
• Calls that were local before the area code overlay will remain local calls. Calls that were
long distance calls before the area code overlay will remain long distance calls.
22. Will dialing procedures for Operated Assisted Calls change?
• Yes. All Operate Assisted Calls must be dialed “0” + area code + telephone number.
23. Who gets the telephone numbers with the 971 area code?
• Anyone in the 503 Service Area may be assigned a telephone number with the new 971
area code starting April 27, 2008.
24. Will all telephone numbers assigned starting April 27, 2008 have the new 971 area code?
• No. Telephone numbers with the 503 area code may still be available. Check with your
preferred telecommunications service provider for availability.
25. Once telephone numbers with the new 971 area code are available, what happens if
someone dials the wrong area code when trying to place a call?
• Callers will not reach the person or business they are trying to call if they dial the wrong
area code. It is possible to reach a wrong number or hear an announcement indicating that the
number dialed is not in service. Therefore, it is important to know and dial the correct area code +
telephone number of the person or business you are trying to reach.
26. How will I know whether a telephone number begins with a 503 or 971 area code after
April 27, 2008?
• Service providers will begin publishing the area code + telephone number in the directories
for everyone in the geographic region of the 503 and 971 area codes. It is important to tell people
your area code + telephone number so there is no confusion as to which area code you have. When
getting a number from someone, be sure to get the area code + telephone number.
27. What other communications services/devices might be affected by the area code overlay?
• Alarm services
• Coin-operated telephones
• Private Branch Exchanges (PBXs)
• Communications services/devices programmed with just seven digits lists

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