If you are used to dialing just a 7-digit phone number for local calls, things are about to change.
As of February 2022, the Default Area Code (DAC) feature will be removed for all U.S. area codes. As of that date, users assigned United States phone numbers with U.S. area codes must dial 10-digits to place local calls successfully.
Why is 10-Digit Dialing Going to be Required in the United States?
In response to increasing national concern over the national suicide rate, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted 988 as a new number to connect calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. Starting October 2021, calls to 988 will be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Users will also be able to reach the Lifeline by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Until October 2021, users must dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline.
In order for 988 to work properly, the FCC is requiring all providers to implement mandatory 10-digit local dialing nationwide.
Who is affected by this Change?
All users who are assigned phone numbers with United States area codes and who dial local numbers without the 3-digit area code.
How Should Users Complete Local Calls in the United States?
Users should dial the area code + telephone number for local calls. Users who already dial 10-digits for local calls should continue to do so.
When Will This Change Begin?
Effective immediately, users should dial the area code + telephone number for local calls. Users who already dial 10-digits for local calls should continue to do so.
Beginning April 2022, users must dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) to complete local calls in the United States. On and after this date, local calls dialed without the area code, will not be completed, and users will receive a message that the number cannot be completed as dialed. Users will be required to dial using the 10-digit number.
Beginning October 2021, dialing 988 will route user’s call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Until October 2021, users must dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline.
What will you need to do?
In addition to dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) to complete local calls in the United States, local 7-digit numbers stored in contact cards, customer records, or call forwarding settings should be updated to include 10-digits (area code + telephone number) to ensure calls are connected successfully.
What Will Remain the Same?
- Your telephone number, including current area code.
- Dialing emergency and special services (e.g. 911, 711).
- Domestic and International calling rates.
- Long Distance and International dialing.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
You can find additional information on the FCC’s website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.