TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Telephone Dialing in Old Movies

Re: Telephone Dialing in Old Movies

John Levine (
21 May 2007 14:15:12 -0000

> When I lived in Gadsden, Alabama in the late sixties, they had a five
> digit plan. The two exchanges there are 546 and 547. You could dial
> 68820 (which was our telephone number at home). Or 72550 (one I made
> up just now) and actually reach 546-8820 and 547-2550.

> I sincerely doubt that that plan is still in place (I just don't
> know either way).

It can't be. When the NANP ran out of N0X area codes and added NNX
codes, the most complex part of the transition was fixing everyone's
dial plans to 7D/1+10D or 10D/1+10D or just 1+10D.

Places with short dialing always used 1+whatever for toll calls, 1+7D
for nearby and 1+10D for the rest of the country. Back then 1+N0 meant
that it was a seven digit call, 1+NN meant ten digits, but that no
longer works, and the alternative, timeouts, isn't considered usable.
So they went to consistent 7D (or with overlays 10D) local dialing.

Technically it'd be possible to have short dialing for local calls and
1+10D for everything else, sort of like the way a PBX uses 9+whatever
for calls outside the PBX, but I gather the telcos agreed that would
be too confusing and didn't do that.



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