VICENZA, Italy — Those used to calling military offices on Caserma Ederle on commercial lines will have to reprogram their speed dials in the next few weeks.

Bases throughout the Vicenza military community are changing a digit in the civilian phone number Feb. 5 as part of an Armywide program to upgrade phone services. It will mark the first time for the changeover in Italy.

The first four numbers — 0444 — that denote the Vicenza city code in the Italian phone system will remain the same. But the next two will change, from 51 at Caserma Ederle and 21 at Longare to 71 at both bases. The last four digits, representing an individual extension, will also remain the same.

For example, the number for the base newspaper will change from 0444-51-7000 to 0444-71-7000. The DSN number will remain 634-7000.

In Lerino, numbers that used to have 219 after the initial city code will now be replaced with 713. The last three numbers will remain the same.

Linda Sedillos, plans officer for the 509th Signal Battalion, said the project started years ago. Community members have endured dug-up streets as new lines were installed and a building was finished in late 2002 to house some of the new equipment.

Siemens, the chief contractor on the project, subcontractors and soldiers from the signal battalion have been putting in long days to get the work done, she said.

The turnover will happen “on a decided time on the 5th,” Sedillos said. “It should not be noticeable for the customers.”

She said while the turnover itself may take an hour, “it will only affect each phone for a split second.”

Messages in English and Italian will let those calling the old numbers know of the change for a few months.

Officials say the changeover will give the base more capabilities with its phone system — and room to grow.

“I went to Telecom Italia and asked for a block of 10,000 phone numbers,” said Phil Ladeau, the base operations project manager. “They gave us 8,000.”

That’s 5,000 more numbers than currently available in the block assigned to the Southern European Task Force.

Camp Darby’s phone numbers are set to change this summer.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.

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