On July 18, 2001 Verizon told us in a newspaper ad: "Every time you make a call within the 201, 732 or 973 area codes, even if its (sic) right next door, you'll need to dial the Ten-number Number. It's the 3 digit area code plus the usual 7-digit number. You should get used to it now, because on December 1, 2001, calls won't be completed unless you dial the Ten-number Number."
Verizon needed new area codes. They could either split a current area code or they could keep the current area code and "overlay" a new area code into the same geographical area.
If one area code is split, some current users would have to change stationery, faxes and whatever else, to reflect their new area code but not the 7-digit part of their telephone numbers.
If an "overlay" area code is assigned to the same area, then all new customers could be given the new area code. This could mean that your telephone might have a current area code, and your new fax machine in the same room might be assigned the overlay area code.
If you live in area code 201 and your telephone number is currently 201, your new fax machine might be assigned an Overlay code of 551. Presumably this means that new telephone books must list everyone in the area, but now show the area code as part of the Ten-number Number.
It also means that you must know who has been assigned the new overlay area code before you dial that person. That doesn't seem impossible. Those in an area code who are assigned the overlay area code must notify everyone of their new 10-digit number. They do that anyhow.
Verizon's website tells us that they are a combination of two former companies: Bell Atlantic which operated in five states, MA, NJ, NY, PA and VA, and GTE which operated in 20 states.
Verizon's rules for expanding to overlay area codes however, differ by state.
Here in New Jersey, Verizon demands that those who live in the 201 area begin in December to dial the Ten-number Number to reach others with a 201 area code. I object to this. The system now knows I am calling from a 201 telephone, and without a 3-digit area code prefix, I am dialing another telephone with an area code of 201.
If I am dialing any other area code, I must dial 1 and the other area code.
It works now. Why change it?
However in Manhattan, area code 212 has had an overlay area code (646) in effect since July 1999. Verizon's website instructions to dial within the same area code in New York City tell you: Dial using seven digits. When dialing a call within the same area code, continue to dial using seven digits. For example, a call from a 212 number to another 212 number may be dialed using seven digits.
Why discriminate against those of us in New Jersey?
John V. Lyon