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Despite a 1992 decision to add a new area code to prevent the projected exhaustion of telephone numbers, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a plan to provide additional numbering capacity within exchanges by requiring 10-digit dialing for all customers. Future telephone lines would be assigned a new area code under the approved plan, but no existing customers would be required to change their current telephone numbers.
Opponents claimed that the plan would give Bell Atlantic-Maryland, Inc., the state's existing dominant local exchange carrier, a significant market advantage as the primary provider of service, because potential subscribers would find assignment of new area code numbers undesirable. The PSC concluded that the competitive concerns did not justify adopting a plan that would force a change of numbers for approximately one-half of the subscriber base. It also pointed out that all companies seeking new customers are eligible for exchange access numbers on a first come-first served basis, with large blocks of numbers within existing area codes already reserved for the future use of Bell Atlantic competitors. Re Alternative Plans for New Telephone Area Codes in Maryland, Case No. 8705, Order No. 72274, Nov. 22, 1995 (Md.P.S.C.).
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