LAWRENCE COUNTY Residents get input on local calling area

Residents will decide if they want to extend their local calling area to Ellwood City.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Some residents in the eastern part of Lawrence County will soon have a chance to change their local telephone calling area.
Verizon, the telephone company serving the area, has agreed to conduct a customer poll of the 924 telephone exchange to determine if there is enough support to make other nearby communities part of an extended calling service area, eliminating tolls.
The exchange area includes portions of Scott and Slippery Rock townships and is known as Princeton.
People in those communities have complained that they are paying long-distance tolls for calls to people who live less than a mile from their homes. Residents of the 924 exchange, however, can make local calls to New Castle and Portersville, which are miles away.
State Rep. Frank LaGrotta of Ellwood City, D-10th, announced that Verizon will now conduct a study to determine if there is enough interest in making those calls part of an extended service area.
Under the proposal, their monthly bill would increase by about $1 and there would be no extra charges to calls in the 752 and 758 exchanges, which include Ellwood City and its surrounding communities, LaGrotta said.
Lee Gierzynski of Verizon said that at least 50 percent of the residents must respond to the poll and agree before it can be implemented.
A hearing on the matter was held in November before an administrative law judge, and the poll is a result of that hearing, LaGrotta said.
"The decision now belongs to the people of the Princeton area," LaGrotta said.
Residents should receive information in the mail concerning the poll, he said. No date for that poll has been set yet.

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