LaPorte County Herald-Dispatch
INDIANAPOLIS — Beginning on Sunday, Oct. 24, everyone in northern Indiana’s 219 and 574 telephone area codes will be required to use 10 digits, rather than seven, to make local phone calls.
Callers will need to dial 219 before their numbers for all local calls, on cell phones and landlines. Local calls made with seven digits will work until the end of the permissive dialing period, established to allow everyone time to adjust and make required system changes before 10-digit dialing becomes mandatory.
The change to 10-digit dialing is necessary to accommodate the national “988” National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as designated by the FCC. All telecommunications providers in the United States are required to implement the three-digit 988 dialing code for the hotline by July 16, 2022. Under the FCC order, 10-digit dialing must be in place before then for any area code with a 988 prefix.
Starting Oct. 24, if you do not use 10 digits, your call will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.
Beginning July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be reachable by calling 988. The lifeline can be reached before and after that date at 800-273-8255.
The most important facts for residential consumers and businesses:
Your phone number, including area code, will not change.
You will need to dial area code + number for all local calls in the 219 and 574 areas.
You will continue to dial 1 + area code + number for long-distance calls.
Calls that are local now will remain local.
10-digit dialing for local calls will not change the price of a call, your coverage area, or other rates and services.
You can still dial three digits to reach 911 (emergency), 211 (social services), 411 (directory assistance), 711 (telecommunications relay service), or 811 (call to request a utility locate before you dig).
You should start including the area code when providing your numbers to others.
You should make sure all preprogrammed numbers are set to include the area code. Examples include life safety systems, medical monitoring services, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile/wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services and similar functions.
You should check your website, stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, personal or pet ID tags and microchips, and other items to ensure that the phone number includes the area code.
Any safety and security equipment, including medical alert devices and alarm systems, must be programmed for mandatory 10-digit local dialing unless the calls are already directed to toll-free or long-distance telephone numbers. All reprogramming must be completed before Oct. 24.
Mandatory 10-digit dialing has been in place for several years in Indiana’s 317 and 812 area codes, implemented to accommodate the addition of overlay area codes due to shrinking number supplies.
This article was made available by Hoosier State Press Association.