Area Codes That Use “988” in Local Exchanges Must Begin to Use 10-Digit Dialing
As part of its effort to assist Americans in crisis, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) established 988 as the new nationwide phone number to connect Americans in crisis to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (“NSPL”). In order to prepare for implementation of a quick way to dial the NSPL by using only “988” to connect callers to the NSPL, specific area codes must transition to ten-digit dialing for all calls, including local calls.
The FCC’s rules require that all phone providers direct all 988 calls to the NSPL by July 16, 2022. As a result, all providers are required to implement 10-digit dialing in areas that use 7-digit dialing and have a 988 NXX code as the first three numbers in 7-digit phone numbers. Beginning October 24, 2021, affected customers 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 customers that the call cannot be completed as dialed. Customers must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number.