10-Digit Dialing Supports Suicide Prevention

As of October 24, 2021, callers in 35 states and Guam must dial ten digits to make a local phone call. This is due to the U.S. implementing 988 as a three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline quickly.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 82 area codes throughout the US and Guam are impacted as they allow seven-digit dialing to be completed, and numbers where “988” make up the first three numbers of the seven-digit telephone number.

What is “988”?

Dialing “988” or any seven-digit phone number beginning with these three numbers will be automatically directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This is why telecommunication carriers and VoIP service providers are implementing 10-digit dialing across the U.S.

The 988 dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16, 2022.

The states that are currently required to implement 10-digit dialing are as follows: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

What Exactly is 10-Digit Dialing?

Simply put, this means that you will be required to enter both the three-digit area code and the seven-digit telephone number to complete the call, even if the area code is the same as your own. If your area code transitions to ten-digit dialing, you will no longer be able only to dial seven digits to complete a local call. 

What Area Codes Will Be Affected?

Ten-digit dialing will affect people in the following area codes across the United States. 

What Changes Do Businesses Need to Make?

If your company uses a PBX or VoIP communications system, you may need to update or reprogram it for ten-digit dialing. Seven-digit dialing began to be phased out on October 24, 2021, and the transition to 10-digit dialing is now required to be complete by July 15, 2022.

What Will Remain the Same?

  • Telephone numbers, including current area code, will stay the same.
  • 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.
  • Your customers will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.
  • Customers 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 customers’ communities can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Have a question about this update and how it will impact your communication services? We're here to talk. 

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