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10-digit dialing begins today

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

Residents of western Kentucky will hear a dial tone if they forget to enter an area code for all local calls beginning today.

Officials from the Kentucky Public Service Commission are urging residents to remember that it is mandatory to include the area code before all local landline and wireless numbers. The change will not affect residents with an area code 270 who can continue to use their existing phone number.

"All current area code 270 numbers will stay the same when the new area code goes into effect," Kentucky PSC chairman David Armstrong said. "It is just the dialing pattern that is changing."

The area code 364 was added to the same geographic area based on an increased demand for local telephone numbers. The overlay phone service option was selected over a plan that would divide the area near the Trigg County line and reassign all phone numbers. The overlay system is the first in the state and fifth total area code in Kentucky, according to Andrew Melnykovych, Kentucky PSC public information officer.

He said the transition will not change current 270 numbers and future numbers with the 270 area code could be given out depending on exiting inventories from individual phone service providers.

Dialing 1 is not required for local calls but will remain part of dialing long distance, resulting in an 11-digit dialing system. Local calls won't become long-distance calls and costs will not increase.

Phone numbers with the new 364 area code will be given out beginning March 3 but only to new customers and residents wishing to change their phone numbers. Most regional residential and business phone numbers will continue to use area code 270 and 911 call procedures will remain the same, according to Melnykovych.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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