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Why do I sometimes have to dial a 1?

I live in the 703 area code, which is Northern Virginia, the area near Washington DC. Sometimes when I call a 703 number, I have to dial a 1 before the 10 digit phone number. Sometimes I don’t. There is no rhyme or reason to when I need the 1.

Area code 571 is generally cell phones in Northern Virginia. You don’t need a 1. If you remember that 571 is “local” to 703. How do places like New York City handle all these area codes? Remember Elaine from Seinfeld in area code 646?

Area code 540 is central and Southern Virginia. Some regions of 540 need a 1, some don’t. Unless I know in advance where in 540 the number is, I don’t even know enough if I should guess with the 1 or not. 540 near 703 does not need a 1. Isn’t all phone switching done with computers nowadays? Why is this even necessary? Either always require a 1, or since it’s a computer, let the system figure it out. If the 10 digits I just dialed needs a one, have the computer system add it in, and then redial. If I added in a superfluous 1, have the system take it out. Making me hang up and redial is ridiculous.

One Comment

  1. iDude says:

    571 used to only be cellphones, but now quite a few businesses are routinely assigned 571 numbers. I know a that works at the TSA, their office numbers are 571-

    The only reason I can think as to why you had to dial the “1” is… Verizon owns most of the PSTN around there… But a few years ago, like in Woodbridge for example (where I used to live), It was GTE, but was still a 703 #. Maybe numbers that used to be or are on another carrier sometimes require 1’s to get outside your home carrier. Especially since there are so many within an area code.

    From what I remember about 540, I could call Stafford, Fauquier, and places closer to DC from my homeline without a one, but Southern VA, you needed a “1”, which would denote that it is “long distance” rather than a “local” call.

    Once I started using my cellphone for 100% of my calls, I’ve NEVER dialed a “1” at all.