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988 and 10-Digit Dialing
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted 988 as a new three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. This new three-digit number will go into effect on July 16, 2022, but in the meantime, continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline.
For 988 to work, ITC will be implementing ten-digit local dialing. Ten-digit calling means you need to dial the area code plus the telephone number when making a local call. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with seven digits. For example, if you call ITC in Clear Lake from a Clear Lake number, dial 605.874.2181 instead of dialing 874.2181. Anyone with a telephone number from your area code will need to make this change from seven-digit local dialing to ten-digit local dialing.
Beginning April 24, 2021, you should start dialing ten digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. If you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed. More information will follow on the mandatory compliance date for ITC customers.
What Needs to be Changed
In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment programmed to complete calls with seven-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls with ten-digit numbers. Some examples are: life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, phone systems, 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 Not Changing
Things that will not change include your telephone number, the price of a call, your coverage area, your EAS calling, and other rates and services. 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. All three-digit dialing will remain the same (see the quick guide below for reference).
If you have any questions, please call ITC at 1.800.417.8667 or visit www.itc-web.com. You can also visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.
-Holly Stormo, The Marketeer