Alaskans Will Need To Dial "907" Starting Sunday, October 24th For Local Calls

  We've Seen Worse    Back in the days of Pipeline construction, in the 1970s, Pipeline workers, frustrated by Copper Valley Telephone&#...


We've Seen Worse   

Back in the days of Pipeline construction, in the 1970s, Pipeline workers, frustrated by Copper Valley Telephone's limited service, made a placard. Al Slemsek, who ran a small store in downtown Glennallen which fixed chainsaws and sold handy stuff, put the sign up on the back of his door. 

Many people used to call home from Eureka Lodge to say they'd be arriving in an hour or so in Glennallen, coming back from Anchorage. Eureka had a Mickey Mouse phone for that purpose.

The sign was very well known. Even local people thought it was funny. It said:

"Mickey Mouse is alive and well, and running a telephone company in Glennallen, Alaska."

In those distant days, the entire local phone system in the Copper Valley dealt with  "party lines". It wasn't easy. Up to half a dozen families shared the same phone line. Everyone had different numbers, but when you picked up the phone to call somebody, another family living nearby was frequently talking over that line already. You'd have to wait, and pick up the line again to check they had hung up. 

This was one of the signs of general chaos brought about by the advent of tens of thousands of new people to work on the Pipe in a very small community. 

Also in the 1970s, only four digits were needed if you wanted to call locally. There was no required prefix. You punched in the last four digits of the number you were calling, and that was that.

Eventually, an additional three more digits – "822" here in the Copper Valley – were required to make a local call. When this was announced, it seemed very irritating, and even unnecessary to many people.

It's been that way for a long time now. You still dial 7 digits for a local call. 

But now Alaskans will have to get used to something else. We'll have to use 10 digits for a local call, adding the area code "907" at the front of every current 7-digit number. Your basic number will remain the same, but on October 24th everybody in Alaska will have to dial local calls as if we were in another state, using that 907 prefix. 

This is because of an FCC approval for using "988" to dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Alaska is one of 37 states impacted. 

If you think that's annoying, always remember. At least it's not a party line anymore.


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