If new friends or business contacts give you their phone number and the prefix reads 335 or 714, don't assume they are from out of town. The Kenai and Soldotna areas now have those prefixes to supplement the existing numbers.
The 335 prefix corresponds to the same area covered by 283, in Kenai, while 714 will serve the Sterling-Soldotna-Kasilof area along with the 262 and 260 prefixes.
Chuck Stauffer, general manager for the southwest district of Alaska Communications Systems said the new prefixes serve the same boundaries as the old numbers for two reasons: to determine what is a long distance call, and because of where ACS's telephone cables are located.
The 283, and now 335, prefixes are routed out of Kenai, while 262, 260 and now 714 are routed through Soldotna.
The new numbers were needed on the central Kenai Peninsula because this area is seeing the same phenomenal growth in the telecommunications industry as the Lower 48.
The growth is coming from both the residential and business arenas. At home, more families have fax machines and at least one computer hooked up to a separate phone line, and many have additional lines for their children or home business.
In the business world, many large companies are doing away with receptionists and replacing them with automated systems, which require additional phone numbers as extensions.
"Technology is causing the growth and there is an increasing request for more phone numbers," Stauffer said. "You can see this in the Lower 48 where they've had to add new area codes."
Each new prefix can accommodate 10,000 phone numbers, but not all numbers are in service at any one time, Stauffer said. Disconnected business numbers are held in reserve for one year before being reassigned, while residential numbers are held for 90 days. That policy is to reduce wrong numbers to the new owner of the number.
The new prefixes did not require new hardware in the ACS switching operations, just new software.
The numbers are assigned by a national clearinghouse for prefixes, Stauffer said, but he did not know if ACS asked for those specific numbers or if they were randomly assigned.
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