658: Jamaica’s Additional Area Code

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Jamaica now has an additional area code; It’s 658.

In a statement today, Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation, Ansord Hewitt, says the new area code will not replace the existing 876 code but will be used in addition to it.

OUR Public Education Specialist, Elizabeth Bennett Marsh, says the need to have the additional area code, 658, is due to a rise in demand for numbers in Jamaica.

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According to the regulator, the additional area code will ensure there are sufficient numbers to meet the growing demand over the next 25 years.

The OUR says the additional area code will be used once the existing telephone numbers under the 876 code are exhausted.

Phone users will not have to change their existing telephone numbers.

The OUR also announced in its statement today that as of May 31 next year, phone users will have to dial ten digits when making local calls.

That is, the three-digit area code plus the seven digit number.

Currently, callers do not have to dial the area code when making local calls.

Mrs. Bennett Marsh explained the need for the incoming 10 digit dialing regime.

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In the meantime, the OUR says the introduction of ‘ten-digit dialing’ will not mean an increase in telephone charges.

The OUR is advising businesses and government agencies to begin adding the current 876 area code on all their printed materials and signage.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.