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We Are Going to Have to Dial What? Big Changes Coming to Your Phone Monday

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

On July 16th, 2020, the FCC adopted rules to establish the three-digit number ‘988’ as the new, nationwide, easy-to-remember phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. To ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, phone companies will be required to implement 10-digit dialing in areas that both use seven-digit dialing and use 988 as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers.

Beginning October 24th, 2021, local phone customers must dial 11-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7 digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. Consumers must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number.

Area code 530 is one of seven area codes in the state of California that will be affected. In Nevada area code 775 will also require the ten digit phone number. 17 other states have area codes that will need to implement the new way to dial.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

Here in California, to complete all local calls, you will need to dial 1 + area code + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that you currently dial 7 digits to reach.

Beginning October 24th, you must dial 11-digits. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7-digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code.

Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing 988 will reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

What will you need to do?
In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 11-digit numbers. Some examples are:

  • life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
  • PBXs
  • fax machines
  • internet dial-up numbers
  • fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
  • speed dialers
  • mobile or other wireless phone contact lists
  • call forwarding settings
  • voicemail services and other similar functions
  • Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.

What will remain the same?
Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.

The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change. What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.

You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long distance calls.

You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services). Any 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 services available in your community can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.

You can visit the FCC website for more information about the change.

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