Although UNC students will have to dial 10 digits to call telephone numbers off campus, telecommunication official Brent Sutton said the change will not affect the University's five-digit dialing system.
The extended dialing system is slated to go into effect Feb. 6, 2002. One month later, a new 984 area code will be added.
"(Residents) can continue to dial seven digits up to the point we actually run out of numbers in the 919 area code," said Hugh Gerringer, a telephone engineer on the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission.
Since August, the commission has been giving town residents the option of dialing either seven or 10 digits to make local calls within the 919 area code to facilitate the transition into 10-digit dialing.
Gerringer said the 10-digit dialing system will become a requirement on Feb. 6, 2002 -- one month before the new area code is put in place -- to give residents ample time to adjust.
He also said the commission is implementing efforts to conserve telephone numbers within the 919 area code, which might delay the Feb. 6 start date.
One conservation measure being utilized will place limits on business requests for specific telephone numbers.
The commission also is enacting a new policy that will recirculate business numbers that have not been used for six months.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it's another year (before 10-digit dialing becomes required)," Gerringer said.