New area code, new dialing procedures for 2015 - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

New area code, new dialing procedures for 2015

Horry County, South Carolina (News Release) – HTC officials announced Wednesday that members will receive information soon regarding changes to the 843 area code which will require new dialing procedures when calling from a landline phone. 

This year, a new 854 area code will be introduced to the area currently served by 843 in the Coastal Counties that principally supply the communities of Charleston, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach, and Florence.

March 14, 2015 starts what is called the permissive dialing period. Callers are encouraged, but not required, to dial ten digits (area code + telephone number) for their local calls. Long distance dialing patterns will not change. During the transition period from March to September, if a caller forgets and dials just seven digits those calls will still be completed.

Beginning September 19, 2015, callers must use the new dialing procedure for all calls. After this date, if a caller does not use the new dialing procedures, the call will not be completed as dialed and a recording will instruct the caller to hang up and dial again.

October 19, 2015 will be the first date that telephone providers will be allowed to issue new telephone numbers with the new 854 area code.

The introduction of the new 854 area code will not require members to change their existing telephone numbers or area code and, the price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change. It's also important to note that HTC has a reasonable supply of 843 numbers still available for distribution and, it will be an extended amount of time before the company will need to issue a landline phone number with an 854 area code.

In addition to the change in dialing procedures, all services with automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedures. For example, life safety systems or medical devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions, etc. Members need to check websites, business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags to make sure the area code is included.

For more information regarding the new area code addition and dialing procedures, please call HTC at 843-365-2154 or visit www.htcinc.net/854-area-code. The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff also has a website with information at www.regulatorystaff.sc.gov.

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