WISCONSINREPORT.COM (07/10/2010) - Anyone dialing a phone number in what has strictly been the 715 Area until now in the northern part of Wisconsin must enter the full ten digit number starting Saturday, July 17, 2010. That's the date telephone companies switch so a second code number (534) can be dropped into the 715 area.
All new phone numbers issued by telephone companies in the 715 Area will have the new 534 as the prefix to the new ten digit numbers. All existing 715 Area Code numbers will keep the 715 as part of their ten digit telephone number.
Even if the person next door to you has a 534 prefixed number, you must dial the full ten digits (534-XXX-XXXX). Likewise if the number you are dialing has the 715 prefix you must dial the full 715-XXX-XXXX, whether you are calling from a 715 prefixed number or a 534 prefixed number, etc.
This is being activated because the growth of population and the availability of numbers in the 715 Area has become out of balance. Here's what the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has to officially say about the changeover to the dual ten digit prefix system:
"The Commission considered the 715 and 920 area code relief dockets (5-TN-100 and 5-TN-106, respectively) at an open hearing on November 6, 2008. As the Commissioners noted in their deliberations, there is no option for area code relief that pleases everyone. Both methods of relief, either an overlay or a geographic split, have perceived pros and cons."
"However, for the 715 and 920 area codes, the Commission determined that an overlay is the best alternative because it allows for the most efficient use of Wisconsinís new numbering resources, it minimizes many potential implementation problems and because it does not impose a financial burden on those customers who may have been forced to change their area code."
"The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) has assigned the 534 area code to overlay the existing 715 area code and the 274 area code has been assigned to overlay the 920 area code. The Commission issued orders on December 9, 2008 approving the overlays of the 715 and 920 area codes and setting guidelines for implementation."
On June 15, 2010 WisconsinReport.com published a story about the upcoming change in the 715 Area in an attempt to cushion the change for our readers. We also published a story at WisconsinReport.com awhile back when the study was taking place to determine what to do down the road.
The time has now come to become totally aware that ten digit phone numbers are here and must be used in order to be connected with the party you want to reach. It goes into effect July 17, 2010, but, chances are that you can begin using the new ten difit dialing now, because most phone companies have already programmed their systems to accept the ten digit calling.
A matter of note: You will likely not be required to enter "1" before the ten digit number, UNLESS it is indeed a Long Distance number you are trying to reach.
If the number is in your local exchange (the same telephone company) you will be required to enter only the ten digits, including either 715 or 534. If it's not in your local exchange area, you will need to enter the "1" (for long distance) in order to get out of your local exchange to reach the 715 or 534 ten digit number you dial in the other exchange.
Persons who subscribe to dial-up internet access services will need to program their computer dialup connection software to include the 715 or 534 as part of their dial-up number. The dialup connection should be successful if, for example, you enter 715XXXXXXX in the phone number field in the connection software (the X's are your actual dialup internet access number given to you by your dialup service provider), or 534XXXXXXX, whichever the case should be. Do not activate the Long Distance "1", unless you want your computer to dialup a Long Distance number.