2006-03-30 / Front Page

Dial 706 before local calls starting Monday

By KIP BURKE news editor

Old habits die hard, and we've been making our local phone calls the same way for decades. So it's going to be weeks before everybody in Wilkes County gets used to dialing 706 before every local call.

But starting Monday, that's the only way a call will go through.

For the last six months, messages from Wilkes Telephone and Electric Company and the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) have been reminding telephone customers in the 706 area code that mandatory 10-digit dialing will begin on April 3, 2006.

That's Monday. Starting then, instead of dialing 678-2636 to reach The News-Reporter for instance, you'll have to dial 706-678-2636.

Since it's not long distance, you don't have to dial 1 before the 706, and it's not charged any differently.

But if you don't dial the 706 prefix, it just won't go through.

If you dial it the old way - and you will - a recording will remind you that "you must dial a 706 before the number ..."

The phone numbers you have now won't change area codes, but when new telephone numbers are assigned, they will have the new area code, 762.

To add to the complications, this also means we have to change the way our favorite numbers are programmed into the speed dial of our cell phones, office phones, and fax machines.

Wilkes Telephone customers need to change a few settings, said Jayne B. Callaway, Wilkes Telephone & Electric Company operations manager. Customers need to re-program equipment, she said, such as wireless phones, speed dialing services, call forwarding and blocking features as well as dial-up internet connections. Modems and fax machines should also be changed to ensure connection.

And don't forget your alarm system. "Customers who have security systems will need to contact their vendor to determine re-programming needs for 10-digit dialing, as this may require a premise visit to the home by their system provider to make the necessary changes," Callaway said.

Customers can contact a Wilkes Telephone customer service representative with questions about the changes from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 706-678-2121 or 706-359-3111.

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