N.S., P.E.I. residents can now use 10-digit dialing
Residents of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can now use 10-digit dialing when making local calls. It’s not mandatory yet, but come November, Nova Scotians and Islanders will have no choice but to dial the area code for local calls.
While there may not be more people in the two provinces, there has been a significant increase in the number of phones. Companies are simply running out of phone numbers to assign customers.
“It’s local competition, it’s new technology, more usage of telecommunications systems,” says Glen Brown of the Canada Numbering Administration.
Ten-digit dialing has been activated in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. to give residents a chance to get used to the change before it becomes mandatory.
As of Aug. 23, seven-digit calls will still work, but they will be interrupted by a network announcement. By Nov. 16, calls dialed without the area code will not be completed. On Nov. 30, area code 782 will be introduced gradually.
The change means some numbers that have been the same since the 1980s won’t really be the same anymore, which could have some impact on businesses.
“I wouldn’t recommend that they change their jingle or their communications,” says Chris Keevil, a CEO at an advertising agency. “The important part here are those seven digits for people to understand what to call.”
Some have asked whether it would be easier to give P.E.I. its own area code, but that could mean giving every resident and business on the island a new number.
“You also run into the issues in the tourism industry where if people come once every two or three years, they’re used to dialing the same number to make their reservations and then all of a sudden, one or two years down the road, they call the number and it doesn’t work anymore,” says Brown.
Once the change comes into effect, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the territories will be the only regions in Canada with only one area code.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell