11-Digit Dialing Coming to the Stateline

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The days of only dialing seven digits in the Stateline are over. Starting in February, you'll have to punch 11 digits; 1 + the area code and then the seven digit phone number. One telephone system installer says its another sign of growth.

"815 was going to run out of numbers eventually with so many cell phones and fax machines," says Rich Hughes, owner of Hughes Business Technology.

This means that some who move in to the 815 area code could be assigned a 779 area code when the changes take effect. This could mean big headaches for some businesses.

"Right now, a lot of telephone systems, especially the older ones, are not designed for 11-digit dialing," Hughes says.

Many people are unaware of the upcoming change.

"I don't think they're really going to face this until they actually find out they can't make an external call," says Dennis L'Heureux, CIO of Rockford Health Systems.

Employees at Rockford Health Systems, like many other businesses have to dial nine to make that external call. L'Heureux says this could present an even bigger problem.

"What's the probability that someone's going to call 9-1-1 by mistake? That's something I think someone should be looking into," L'Heureux says.

"If you prepare for it, its not a big deal at all. If you just let it go, you could have a real problem," Hughes adds.

Hughes adds that people with automatic alarm systems will have to reprogram them to adapt to the change.