Loveland, Ohio – Beginning on Sunday, October 24, even if the area code is the same area code as your own, you must dial ten digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not connect, 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 and the seven-digit number.

This change was implimented by the Federal Communications Commission to better serve the National Suicide Hot Line which is currently 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). The Commission is in the process of changing the hot line to a three digit nimber, 988.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator has a list of the states and area codes that will be affected. You can check the list to find out if your area code is one that will be transitioning: https://nationalnanpa.com/transition_to_10_digit_dialing_for_988/docs/NPAsRequiredtoTransitionto10DD.pdf

Ten-digit dialing for local calls has been enabled in these area codes since April 24, 2021, and you can begin dialing ten digits anytime, and seven-digit local calls will still be completed prior to October 24, 2021.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

During the transition to “988”, Americans who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and Service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing “1” after dialing, chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.

What Changes Will Businesses Need to Make?

If your company uses a PBX or VoIP phone system, you may need to update or reprogram it for ten-digit dialing. Because ten-digit dialing became available in April 2021 in the areas where seven-digit dialing will be phased out in October 2021, reprogramming of PBX or VoIP systems can begin at any time. You should plan to complete any needed reprogramming and test your system before October 24, 2021.

Why Is Ten-Digit Dialing Necessary?

There are more phones in America than there are people, and each phone needs its own phone number. Beginning in the early 1990s, to accommodate the growing need for more phone numbers, some areas began to add a second area code for local calls. Dialing both the area code and the seven-digit number was necessary to ensure the call reached the intended recipient. As more area codes begin to run out of new seven-digit numbers to assign, a second local area code may be added, requiring that area to transition to ten-digit dialing.

In 2020, the FCC established “988” as the new, nationwide three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The new three-digit dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16, 2022 and will provide an easy to remember and easy to dial three-digit number to reach suicide prevention and mental health counselors, similar to “911” for emergencies and “311” for local government services. To help facilitate the creation of “988”, area codes that use “988” as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, will need to use 10-digit dialing.

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David Miller is the Publisher and Editor of Loveland Magazine. To learn more visit the "About" page. (http://bit.ly/2gyn1s6)