Beginning Oct. 24, 2021, customers in 82 area codes, 35 states, and one US territory will be required to dial 10 digits (area code + telephone number) when making a local call. For customers served by TDS it will impact 19 states and 29 area codes. While inconvenient, this change is needed to implement an important Congressional and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action to help save lives.
The National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act ordered the creation of a three-digit number for a National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and this new easy-to-remember number (9-8-8) will pave the way for suicide prevention and mental health crisis intervention services for those who need it.
This change is being implemented to prepare for the launch of the 988-crisis hotline number on July 16, 2022. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.
The change to 10-digit dialing will prevent people from calling the new 9-8-8 emergency phone line by mistake. Area codes that currently use “988” as the first three numbers of a seven-digit telephone number are required to change to 10-digit dialing.
Here are some frequently asked questions about this change:
What else do I need to change?
In addition to changing your dialing habits, you’ll need to update systems in your home or business that use automated dialing. Any equipment currently programmed to automatically dial seven-digit numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers.
Here are examples of equipment/systems that may need to be reprogrammed:
Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
PBX business systems
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
Residents and businesses should also check their 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.
Will this change cost me more?
No. Even though you’re using 10-digit dialing, it will remain a local call. This means the price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.
Is anything else changing?
Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.
You can still dial 711 for relay services, and 911 for 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.
I have a different question—who can I contact?
If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call TDS at 1-888-CALL-TDS. You can also visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.
One more tip
As you get used to this new way of making a local call: Don’t doddle when you dial. Today’s phone systems require you to enter the phone number with only three seconds or less between digits. If you don’t, you’ll get an error recording. To combat this, have the number ready before you make a call. Also, if your phone supports it, you could also enter the number you wish to dial before you hit the Talk or Call button.
TDS impacted states and area codes include:
Alabama – 251
Arizona – 520 and 928
California – 209 and 530
Colorado – 970 and 719
Georgia – 912
Indiana – 574
Michigan – 616, 906, 989
Minnesota – 218 and 952
Mississippi – 662
New Hampshire – 603
New Mexico – 575
New York – 607
Ohio – 513
Tennessee – 731 and 865
Texas – 806
Vermont – 802
Virginia – 804
Washington – 509
Wisconsin – 262, 414, 608, 920