Area code 856 is an area code located in the U.S. state of New Jersey created in 1999 by a split of area code 609. It covers southwestern New Jersey, especially the Camden/Cherry Hill and Vineland areas, as well as a very small part of Willingboro Township, along with the western part of Burlington County, while 609 covers the rest of Willingboro and the areas to the north and east. 856 is virtually coextensive with the New Jersey side of the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
Area code 201 was introduced in 1951 as the first area code to be assigned in the United States as part of the North American Numbering Plan, covering the entire state of New Jersey with a single area code. Until 1958, 201 was the only area code serving New Jersey; that year, the state split the area code, with the southern portion of the state becoming area code 609.
With the increasing demand for phone numbers needed for businesses, fax machines, pagers and cell phones, the 609 area code exhausted its capacity. The 856 area code was announced by Bell Atlantic in March 1999 and approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities shortly thereafter. The new area code 856 came into effect on June 12, 1999. For the following five months, permissive dialing was allowed, with calls completed even if area code 856 was not dialed as part of a 10-digit phone number. Since 13 November 1999, use of the area code is required to complete calls from outside the area code. 856 is one of only two area codes in the state, the other being 908 in the northwest, that has yet to be overlaid, making it one of the few urbanized area codes in the country where seven-digit dialing is still possible.
- Demasters, Karen (March 14, 1999). "IN BRIEF; 609 Divided by 2 Will Equal Area Code 856 - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-08.
- New Area Code Assigned to New Jersey, Bell Atlantic press release dated March 9, 1999. Accessed July 3, 2007.
- Now you can call, if your calls don't work some business lines aren't set up to all to new area codes. Archived March 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, The Virginian-Pilot, November 1, 1995. Accessed June 8, 2007. "When the first area code, 201, was introduced in New Jersey in 1951, phone-numbering experts thought there would be enough codes with a middle digit of '0' or '1' to last well into the next century."
- 1951: First Direct-Dial Transcontinental Telephone Call, AT&T, accessed May 12, 2007.
- About Verizon New Jersey: Years 1931 to 1969 Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Verizon Communications, accessed May 12, 2007.
- Breidenbaugh, R.C. Geographic Split of 609 (New Jersey) NPA; addition of 856 NPA. May 1999 NXX updates, North American Numbering Plan Planning Letter dated May 5, 1999. Accessed July 4, 2007.
|New Jersey area codes: 201/551, 609, 732/848, 856, 862/973, 908|
|North: 215/267/445, 484/610|
|West: 302||856||East: 609/640|
|Delaware area codes: 302|
|Pennsylvania area codes: 215/267/445, 223/717, 272/570, 412, 484/610, 724, 814, 878|
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