New Area Code to Affect Local Calling

Beginning on Saturday, Feb. 26, residents of Eastern Nebraska will begin using a new procedure for making local telephone calls.

Those who live in the 402 region will need to dial 402 plus the 7-digit local number when making local calls. If the caller attempts to dial only seven digits, a recording will direct callers to add the area code.

This change is the first step to overlaying a new area code in the 402 region. All current customers will keep their area code and telephone number. The old 402 area code will be used until the numbers are exhausted. At that time, the 531 area code will be assigned where needed in the 402 area code region. The purpose of the ten-digit dialing is to ensure the call is routed to the proper area code. Long distance calls will still require a “1” before the ten-digit phone number.

Residential customers may be affected in several ways. Telephone equipment or computers that have saved phone numbers including dial-up internet connections, speed dial settings, voicemail and life safety systems will need to be re-programmed to dial ten digits. Saved contact lists should also be updated to reflect the new 10-digit dialing procedure.

Businesses should ensure that stationery and online sites include the area code. Business owners should also check phone-based equipment as some automatically dialed calls may require reprogramming to include the new dialing procedure. This may include: fax machines, alarm and security systems, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.

The new dialing procedure does not affect 3 digit numbers including 411 and 911.

“While February 26 marks the beginning of mandatory 10-digit dialing, 402 residents can begin to switch over to 10-digit dialing now. Currently there is a permissive dialing period where either seven-digit or ten-digit local dialing is allowed. For residents or businesses concerned about receiving a new number that has the 531 area code, it is unlikely that residents in small communities will receive a 531 phone number for a long time. Demand for phone numbers is generally smaller in these areas,” said Kathy Tripp, Director of Special Services for Great Plains Communications.

For more information, visit Great Plains Communications customers may also call 1-888-343-8014.