New 564 Area Code and 10 Digit Dialing – Western Washington

March 7th, 2017
Phone HandsetOn May 19th, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) announced that the planned implementation of the 564 overlay area code in Western Washington would take place in the fall of 2017.

Why the 564 area code?

The reason for area code additions is generally due to the geographic area running out of numbers. In today’s world of technology, many devices such as cell phones and Pad computers and businesses with direct inward dialing numbers have depleted the existing numbering plan, and because of this, new area codes must be implemented.

Normally, an area code implementation would serve a specific geographic area, and the geographic area would be split in two, and the new area code would serve one of the areas. In this case, the 564 area code will overlay the 206, 253, 360 and 425 area codes covering all of western Washington.

10 digit dialing

The second effect of this new area code implementation will be that all local numbers will have to be dialed with the full ten digit number. For instance, today in the 425 area code you can dial 425-555-1212 or 555-1212 to call a local number. Eliminating the area code is called permissive 7/10 digit dialing. The implementation of the 564 area code will require dialing the full 10 digit number locally and 1+10 digits for long distance.

There are a few discussion points that make this area code implementation unique that could affect your business communications system. Here is a checklist for your review to assist you in minimizing the impact on your business.

  • Educating your staff – everyone needs to get used to dialing the 10 digit number. Your telephone system may be programmed to allow both 7 and 10 digit dialing today. It would be a good idea to begin getting used to dialing all ten digits to minimize confusion when the day comes that you have to dial 10 digits.
  • Checking that your telephone system is programmed to allow 10 digit dialing and that the 564 area code is programmed in your system so that when the area code goes into effect, you’ll be able to dial it.

564 area code could be a little tricky

This area code overlays a wide geographic area in western Washington. As such, you may have one 564 number that is across the street and local and another that is far away and is long distance. This will be the most confusing and frustrating issue with this implementation. Because of the manner in which this overlay area code is being implemented, you won’t know by the actual number if the call you are making is long distance or not until you dial the number and the call actually completes, or you get the ever popular recording “we’re sorry you must first dial a one when calling this number”.

All of the dialing frustrations, of course, will depend on your telecommunications provider. Some carriers do not require the 1 in front of a long distance number, and some do. Some carriers don’t require the 1 at all (cell phones are a perfect example).

You have help!

Now for the good news! Fidelis can help you make sure you are ready. Fidelis can visit your site and test the dialing patterns in your phone system to make sure you are ready and make any programming changes on your system call routing to ensure that you are. While we are there, why not take advantage of our free network assessment promotion to check the health of your data network! Give us a call to schedule an appointment today!



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