Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Long-distance access codes

My mom was puzzled: she usually uses a cellphone, and when she tried to call us on her landline she heard a recorded message telling her that she needed a long-distance access code. Strange, especially because she can use her landline to call other numbers that require an area code, but not our number.

Explanation: the other numbers are neither local nor long-distance. They’re “regional.”

But what’s a long-distance access code? The Internets, too, have asked this question. I searched the phone company’s website — no answer.

So I volunteered to call the phone company in search of an access code. The person I spoke with had no idea what I was asking about. But while on hold I found a useful page: Long-distance carrier identification code search. It turns out that long-distance access codes are seven digits long and begin with “101.” You can search by company for an appropriate code.

An unlimited long-distance calling plan for a landline makes no economic sense, so it’s good to know that it’s still possible, when necessary, to make a one-off landline call with an access code. And it’s telling, I think, that this much-sought-after information is missing from the phone company’s website. Just sign up for the unlimited plan, right?

[“The phone company”: yes, straight out of the dowdy world.]

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