Contact: Mona S.Rowe,(516) 282-2345 or
Diane Greenberg, (516) 282-2347

Mailed 1/22/96


Upton, NY -- The switch to a new communications system - and a new telephone exchange - is under way at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

With the changeover to a state-of-the-art digital system for voice and data communication, the Lab is shifting to a new three-digit exchange, 344, to replace the 282 and 341 exchanges it has used since 1981. The conversion is now in progress. As of February 5, 1996, all BNL numbers will begin with 344.

BNL's 5,300 phones, fax machines and pagers, as well as the phones of some Lab neighbors, have exhausted all the numbers in the old exchanges. So, once the changeover is complete, parties dialing a 282 number to reach a Lab phone or fax machine will hear a recording instructing them to dial 344 instead.

To reach the Laboratory's operators, on duty 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, dial (516) 344-8000. Both the public and the media may direct their inquiries to the Public Affairs Office at (516) 344-2345. For emergency contacts after Lab hours, the BNL Police Headquarters may be reached at (516) 344-2238. To find out if the Lab is open or closed during severe weather, call (516) 344-INFO to hear an updated report.

Another way of finding out about BNL is through the Internet's World Wide Web. The Public Affairs World Wide Web Home Page, with press releases and other information, is found at the address http://www.bnl.gov/PUBAF/pubaf_home.html.

The National Weather Service forecasting station on the Laboratory's property will continue to be reached at (516) 924-0259.