Check your contacts: 10 digit dialing requirement starts Sunday

If you skip the area code, your call won’t go through
The Federal Communications Commission will require ten-digits to make a phone call starting...
The Federal Communications Commission will require ten-digits to make a phone call starting Sunday.(Erin Sullivan WMTV)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 7:50 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Federal Communications Commission’s switch to requiring ten-digit dialing may mean you’ll want to double check your contacts prior to Sunday.

Starting Sunday, you will be required to type in an area code, even if the number is local, or your call won’t go through. Ten-digit dialing has always worked, but previously the area code was optional if the call was local.

The reason for this change is so that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be shortened to 988. Currently it is 1-800-273-8255.

  • If a phone number is 608-999-7777:
    • 608 = area code
    • 999 = local exchange code
    • 7777 = line number

“We need to make sure that anyone that is using that local exchange code [988], it doesn’t get redirected to another location. So, in this case in Wisconsin we do have four different area codes that actually do have 988 as those other three numbers in that local exchange,” said Jesse La Grew, an Information Security Architect with Madison College.

If you have contacts in your phone that are saved without an area code, you’ll want to make sure you get those first three digits added in, or your call won’t connect.

“There’s no other great way to do it outside of typing it in manually or having somebody call you so can save that information into a brand-new contact. Most of the time it’s relatively easy to go through contacts and see where that missing data is,” said La Grew.

Starting on July 16, 2022, if you dial “988″ you will be taken directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, similar to calling “911″ for other emergencies. Until then, it will remain 1-800-273-8255.

La Grew said since “we’re basically running out of phone numbers” it’s likely that dialing changes will come again in the future.

“It could be in 5-10 years we might be typing in 13 or 14, who knows, just to make sure we can accommodate having an individual line for everyone that desires one,” explained La Grew.

Copyright 2021 WMTV. All rights reserved.