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9 September 2011, 12:12
Thousands of landline users will soon have to dial the full eleven digit phone number just to call people in their local area.
Changes being brought in to help stop Britain running out of phone numbers mean people in a number of areas will no longer be able to just use a six-digit number to call people living within the same area code.
The changes will affect people in the Milton Keynes area code (01908) within the next two years. The same change is expected to be brought in in Northampton (01604) shortly after that.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom say making the changes will allow them to introduce local numbers that start with '0' or '1' - something that's not currently possible with local dialling.
The other solution would be to change the area codes for places like Milton Keynes and Northampton, but Giddian Sensensieb from Ofcom has been telling Heart that would lead to lots of problems.
"The disruption it would cause and the costs it would entail to people and to businesses, to change their stationery, the phone numbers they paint on vehicles, etc. would be considerable," he said.
"The hopefully slight inconvenience of dialling the full code is now much less particularly since so many people use mobile phones and dial the full area code anyway."
Other areas that will be affected by the changes include Brighton, Bradford and Cambridge.
The changes are not expected to affect the charges for local calls.