703 Area Code | 703
where is area code 703 located ?
Area codes 703 and 571 are the North American Numbering Plan telephone area codes for northern Virginia, including the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park, as well as all of Arlington and Fairfax counties and parts of Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford counties. Numbering plan area 703 was created as one of the original 86 North American area codes in October 1947, and originally served the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. Area code 571 was created on March 1, 2000 as an overlay to 703.
Because of the overlay of 703 and 571, 10-digit dialing is mandatory even for local calls; cellphone callers do the same on all direct-dialled calls. Long-distance calls are dialed as eleven digits, using the prefix 1, but for landline-based phones only.
Area code 703 and the overlay area code 571 serve the following cities and towns in Virginia: Alexandria, Annandale, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Dale City, Fairfax, Falls Church, Franconia, Great Falls, Groveton, Herndon, Lake Ridge, Leesburg, Lorton, Manassas, Manassas Park, McLean, Mount Vernon, North Springfield, Oakton, Occoquan, Reston, South Riding, Springfield, Sterling, Vienna, West Springfield, and Woodbridge, plus all or part of these counties: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford.
On June 24, 1973, area code 703 underwent its first split, when the eastern portion of the state became area code 804. Permissive dialing of 703 continued across the Commonwealth until January 1, 1974. 703 was restricted to the northern and western regions of Virginia—from Arlington in the north to the Tennessee and Kentucky border—while everything from Danville eastward was reassigned to 804.
From 1947 to 1990, it was possible for telephone users in the northern Virginia portion of 703 to dial any number in the Washington metropolitan area with only seven digits. This was possible because northern Virginia became part of the Washington LATA, which includes most of the Maryland side of the metro (in area code 301) and the District itself (in area code 202). Every number in the Maryland and Virginia portions of the metro area were protected from assignment in the District's 202, essentially making 202 usable for the entire metro. For instance, if a 1-202-574 number was in use in the District and a 1-301-574 was in use on the Maryland side of the metro, the corresponding 1-703-574 number could only be used in areas considered a safe distance from the Washington metro area, such as Roanoke and the Tri-Cities area. By the end of the 1980s, the D.C. area was running out of prefixes; the only way to free up numbers was to end the partial overlap arrangement, a decision that was made in 1990.
On June 19, 1995, most of the western portion of the old 703 area code was split off into the new area code 540, and 703 was restricted to northern Virginia.
The 1995 split was intended to be a long-term solution. However, within four years, 703 was close to exhaustion due to the proliferation of cell phones, fax machines, and pagers, as well as northern Virginia's explosive growth. To solve this problem, area code 571 was introduced on March 1, 2000, as an overlay to 703. Area code 571 serves most new telephone numbers; while it is primarily associated with mobile telephone lines, it is also used for new landline numbers, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office upon moving to Alexandria; the Transportation Security Administration, which was created in 2001 and has its headquarters in Arlington; and the Fairfax County Public Schools, which moved its headquarters to the Falls Church area in 2006.
Local service providers
Although former competitors Bell Atlantic (a former Baby Bell) and GTE had assigned geographical monopolies varying by region in Virginia, they merged in the late 1990s to form Verizon, now the dominant local telephone service provider throughout Virginia, including both of these area codes. Over 85% of all telephone numbers in both of these area codes are served by Verizon, a regulated monopoly.
However, mobile telephone service is provided with numbers assigned these area codes by various operators such as Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, in addition to Verizon Wireless.
Competition in the local telephone service market within these area codes has been joined by cable television operators such as Cox Communications, Comcast, and Verizon FiOS, which provide local telephone service running over their own broadband fiber optic telecommunication networks (which also provide cable television and high-speed internet services).