Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania


September 19, 2013

Area businesses are gearing up for a big change that will begin Saturday: 10-digit dialing instead of seven. For Phil Rudy, owner of Circles on the Square in Wilkes-Barre, the change means 200 numbers need to be reprogrammed in his fax machine. He faxes menus from his deli on Public Square to 200 area businesses. Circles employee Bill Scholl has been reprogramming all the numbers.

Beginning Saturday, everyone in Northeastern Pennsylvania will have to dial 10 digits to make a local call. "I hate it," Rudy said. "I don't understand why we had to go that way. Why do we have to dial 10 numbers for local numbers? I don't know why you have to dial 10 numbers for your neighbor next door." Ten-digit dialing is being implemented as a result of what telephone company officials call an "overlay." Since the area is running out of telephone numbers, a new area code, 272, will be implemented in the current 570 area code region for local customers who receive a new phone as of Oct. 21.

Numbers which already have a 570 area code will not be changed to 272. The 272 area code will be assigned only to new numbers in the region. Since the new 272 area code will overlay the 570 area code region, people must dial 10 digits as of Sept. 21. For Futuristic Innovative Graphics in Wilkes-Barre, the change means thousands of customers' numbers need to be edited, which could take weeks or months and isn't an easy fix, said marketing coordinator Melissa Kibler. The business has 20 years of customer records logged into its software that never had 570 inputted. "That all needs to be edited one customer at a time," Kibler said.

Futuristic Innovative Graphics, a screen printing and embroidery business, has made an effort to include 570 on its own promotional items, Kibler said. When they first came to be 20 years ago, there was a 717 area code and they had to reprint then. "Thankfully, the 570 zip code isn't changing so we won't have much internally to change. However, I think many businesses may find the need to reprint an added 570 or the new 272 to their promotional items," Kibler said. "For our customers, we will be paying extra close attention to their orders and make edits where needed. We understand the urgency to businesses that need this information changed and reprinted and we will provide quick turnaround service."

Geisinger Health System officials have been sending out reminders to its employees about the change since April and some re-programming was done throughout the organization, said spokesman Matt Van Stone. Patients calling the hospital will need to dial 10 digits and they can still call CareLink toll-free at 1-800-275-6401.

People can still dial just three digits to reach 911. Fred Rosencrans, data manager for Luzerne County 911, said it won't affect anyone calling in but the 911 center re-programmed its telephone system for 10-digit dialing and has a system to identify 10-digit numbers. Telephone companies such as Frontier Communications and Verizon Wireless have been informing customers in Northeastern Pennsylvania about the new way of dialing. If people do not use the new dialing procedure, a recording will inform them that their call will not be completed and they should hang up and try again. Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice

A Manhattan federal judge on Wednesday denied a request by Walt Disney Co's ABC unit to stop Dish Network Corp from selling devices that let viewers skip commercials when watching primetime broadcast shows.

ABC had claimed that allowing Dish's Hopper system to remain on the market while a lawsuit between the two goes forward would cause ABC irreparable harm by threatening its ability to generate advertising revenue and disrupting its exclusive rights to control its programming. U.S. District Judge Laura Swain said she would make public her reasoning for denying ABC's request after the parties have a chance to address whether certain portions of the decision should remain sealed. In July, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also refused to shut down sales of the Hopper in a similar case brought against Dish by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Introduced last year, Dish's DVR-like device contains the feature "AutoHop," which allows subscribers to skip commercials entirely when they watch recorded shows, drawing the ire of the major broadcast television owners. In the New York lawsuit, ABC is alleging that Dish's system violates both copyrights to its programming and an agreement between the companies that allows the satellite provider to distribute ABC programming. Swain's order Wednesday also denied a motion by Dish to dismiss certain claims brought against it in the same lawsuit by CBS Corporation.

CBS is claiming that Dish should have provided details about the Hopper's features during contract negotiations between the two companies in December 2011. Dish had argued that it had no duty to give CBS a "sneak preview" of its new system. An ABC spokeswoman called the decision merely "the first step in the judicial process," and said Dish's AutoHop and PrimeTime Anytime services breach its contractual agreements, unfairly compete with ABC, and infringe ABC's copyrights. A spokeswoman for CBS said the company is pleased with the decision, saying it "allows us to show in trial what Dish knew and what Dish said it knew are two absolutely different things and give reason to unwind a deceptive contract."

R. Stanton Dodge, Dish's general counsel, in a statement called the decision "yet another victory for American consumers." Analysts have said Dish was using its Hopper DVR as a way to fight back against retransmission fees, which are payments cable and satellite companies pay to broadcast stations to carry their networks. The case is Dish Network v. American Broadcast Companies Inc, et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 12-4155. Reuters