By Christina Johnson/Staff writer

The recent upgrade of the university’s campus phone system has many students questioning the importance of an extra digit required now before using dialing any on-campus phone number. The use of the extra digit because effective June 1. All campus phone numbers now require an additional 2 be placed in front of all pre-existing four- digit phone numbers.

Eastern’s networking and telecommunications department updated the 10-year-old system to accommodate the university’s growth.

Steven Fulkerson, network assistant manager, said the old phone system would no longer be supported by a manufacturer effective Dec. 31, 2001. Since equipment and parts would not be provided, problems would not be solved.

In the event of a number shortage, a change could not have taken place after the new year.

To prevent any problems concerning a lack of phone numbers, a fifth digit was added.

“We wanted to ensure that we did not run out of numbers,” Fulkerson said.

The five-digit plan offers Eastern’s campus approximately 100,000 phone numbers. The previous plan offered only 10,000.

In addition to the fifth digit, caller ID and call waiting are now available to all students residing on campus.