If you have one of the four area codes in Michigan impacted by new FCC guidelines, which take effect in October, you may need to change the way you’re dialing up phone calls.
Here’s what to know and why it’s happening:
On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted an Order (FCC 20- 100) approving the designation of 988 as the 3-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, requiring all telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and one-way VoIP providers (covered providers) to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) starting July 16, 2022.
What is the impact of making the 988 a 3-digit dialing code?
In the area codes where the 988 is an assigned, working prefix, local calls will have to be dialed using all 10-digits of the phone number. To complete all local calls, you will need to dial area code + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with 7-digits.
What states/area codes are impacted by this Order?
There are 37 states and 83 area codes that are impacted by this Order where the 988 prefix is a working prefix and has 7-digit local dialing. This includes the entire Michigan 616, 810, 906, and 989 area codes.
Will everyone in the these area codes have to dial 10-digits for a local call or just the people with 988 numbers?
Yes. Every customer in the entire 616, 810, 906, and 989 area codes will change to mandatory 10-digit dialing for local calls. Dialing 7-digits for local calls will be prohibited for all customers in the entire area code.
The FCC ordered that these area codes be transitioned to 10-digit dialing to prevent problems with reaching the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the 3-digit 988 code.
Will I have to change my phone number?
No. One of the reasons for changing to 10-digit dialing is to avoid the need to change people’s telephone numbers.
Will I be able to begin 10-digit local dialing before it becomes mandatory?
Yes. Beginning April 24, 2021, you should start dialing 10 digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. If you forget and dial just 7-digits, your call will still be completed.
When will 10-digit local dialing become mandatory?
Beginning October 24, 2021, you 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 will 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 and the 7-digit telephone number.
When can I begin dialing “988″ to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline?
Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988″ will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.
Other changes to be aware of:
In addition to changing your dialing patterns, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete local calls using only 7- digit numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers. Some examples 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.
Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
What’s staying 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+ area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls
• Callers will still be expected to dial a prefix (such as “9″) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (i.e., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
• You 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 community can still be reached by dialing their 3-digit codes
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) starting July 16, 2022.