It's a numbers game, but Dave Duran, U.S. West area manager in charge of community affairs and public relations, said the community had just about run out of numbers before it was given a new prefix -- 468.
"There are about nine prefixes in the Payson area," Duran said Friday. "There are three in Payson, one in Pine, four used by cellular companies, and another in Tonto Village."
The new prefix was added in August, six months before U.S. West expected to run out of numbers, he said.
It's not a matter of additional phone lines as much as it is additional lines for fax machines, pagers, computers and alarm circuits.
"Some numbers are out of circulation," Duran said. "When a person stops home service, we hold a number out of service for three months. If it's a business, it's a year before that number is used again."
Duran said the numbers are assigned by Lockheed Martin IMS, the code administrator for all telephone numbers in the North American Numbering Plan.
"We tell them when we think we need it and usually let them select the number," he said.
For information on local service call Duran at 602-630-1181 or e-mail him at da-duran@ uswest.com.