Starting Saturday, Central Alabamians required to dial 205

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Americans around the country are seemingly attached at the hip to their phones, and use them all the time. Alabamians are no exception.

“Several times a day,” said Bobbie Buchanan, a central Alabama resident. “Twenty times. Whatever.”

“Probably every 30 minutes,” agreed Linda Hunnicutt, a fellow Central Alabamian.

Map of affected area, courtesy of Verizon Wireless

But the way people in Alabama use these essential tools is about to change. Most residents who live in the blue-colored area in the map to the right have a 205 area code, and are probably used to dialing just seven digits.

Starting Saturday, those residents will need to punch in all 10 digits. That’s because new numbers with a 659 area code will begin to be assigned next month.

An official statement from the Alabama Public Service Commission reads in part:

Beginning Saturday, October 12, 2019, local calls will not be completed within area code 205 unless the area code and the 7-digit number are dialed. If a 7- digit phone number is dialed without preceding it with the area code, the caller will receive a recorded message advising them to dial the area code along with the 7-digit telephone number.

Alabama Public Service Commission

For some, it’s a bit of a nuisance.

“Maybe a little annoying, yes,” Hunnicut said. “I think it’s gonna be an extra step, but if you gotta do it, you gotta do it.”

The APSC claims, however, there are insufficient 205 numbers remaining to satisfy customer demand. For that reason, some believe the fact that the region needs a second area code is actually a good thing.

“I think so,” Buchanan said. “More people, more cell phones, more area codes.”

While the dialing change officially begins Saturday, 659 numbers will begin to be assigned Nov. 12. The APSC affirms that the change will not affect whether calls are billed as local or long-distance.

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