Posted on February 23, 2021
On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the 3-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022. The Order requires all telecommunications carriers to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.
In order for 988 to work, every customer with a number in the 785 area code with 7-digit local dialing must be transitioned to 10-digit. The FCC ordered that any area code that has the 988 prefix assigned as telephone numbers and has 7-digit local dialing be transitioned to 10-digit (area code + telephone number) local dialing to ensure everyone is able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the 3-digit 988 code.
Beginning April 24, 2021, customers should start dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. This is known as a permissive dialing period because if you forget and dial just 7-digits, your call will still be completed.
Beginning October 24, 2021, all consumers with numbers in the area codes above must dial 10-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 may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get this recording, you must hang up and dial again using the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.
What other changes need to be made?
Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit (1+10-digit) dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit (or 1+10-digit) dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use 7-digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit (or 1+10-digits) local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment should be done during the permissive dialing period of April 24, 2021 and October 24, 2021 to avoid interruption of services. Some other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed are:
- life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
- 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
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+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls
- You will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
- You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
- If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, dial these codes with just three digits
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect
What if I still have questions?
Give us at call at 800-892-0163. We are happy to assist!