Bell South Plans Number Changes in Florida

Fast-growing northern St. Johns County will be moved from five phone exchanges into one.


About 4,000 BellSouth telephone customers in northern St. Johns County west of the Intracoastal Waterway would have to change their numbers under a proposed realignment of boundaries in the fast-growing area.

The boundary changes being sought would affect BellSouth customers in the St. Johns County, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville, Green Cove Springs and Julington exchanges.

The Florida Public Service Commission must approve the change and has three public hearings planned to listen to comments.

According to Marta Casas-Celaya, a BellSouth spokeswoman for BellSouth at corporate headquarters in Miami, the proposed change involves two moves.

First, the telephone company plans to consolidate the Julington exchange, which has about 15,000 customers, with the St. Johns County exchange to create a larger one that would encompass most of northern St. Johns County. ThatThe change would not require the Julington exchange customers to change numbers.

The second move would shift customers from the Ponte Vedra Beach exchange who are west of the Intracoastal Waterway into the St. Johns County exchange. Also, Jacksonville exchange customers located around the Bartram Plantation development, Green Cove Springs exchange customers east of the St. Johns River and north St. Augustine exchange customers also would be shifted into the exchange. They would have to change numbers but would be allowed to retain their old calling scope and rates for a period of two years, Casas-Celaya said.

She did not know how many of the 4,000 customers who could face number changes were businesses that would have to have new stationery and business cards printed with new numbers.

"What we are doing is consolidating five different exchanges into one," she said. "The growth in that area is such that people who are literally across the street from each other have different exchanges. We want to streamline that process and while we are at it, improve service."

Todd Brown, a regulatory supervisor and consultant for the Public Service Commission, said BellSouth has not requested any change to the area code.

At the public hearings, a BellSouth representative will make a presentation on the changes being sought and then people will have an opportunity to speak, Brown said.

"Any change would be months away," he added., (904) 359-4374

Copyright 2005 The Florida Times-Union, c/o The Florida Times-Union | Switchboard: (904) 359-4111 Street: 1 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32202 | Mailing: P.O. Box 949, Jacksonville, FL 32231

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