Michigan dialing format to change in certain area codes

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Residents living in the 616 area code will be required to dial the full 10-digit phone number (area code and phone number) for local calls to be completed, effective Oct. 24.

The change comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to transition the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline phone number to 9-88.

A permissive dialing period began on April 24 to get customers used to the new requirement of including an area code when dialing, according to an earlier Business Journal report. Callers who forget and dial only seven digits will still be connected during the permissive dialing period.

After Oct. 24, those who dial a seven-digit phone number within specified area codes will hear a message that the call cannot be completed as dialed and will ask users to hang up and try again, using the full 10-digit number.

Eighty-two area codes in total will be impacted by the new dialing requirement. Other Michigan area codes that will be affected by the change include 906 and 989.

The FCC stated the reason why only some area codes were chosen for the change was based on areas in the country that contain the numbers 988 as a working prefix within a telephone number where seven-digit dialing was in place.

The 10-digit format seeks to help to prevent phone users from accidentally calling the new emergency National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, which will take effect July 16, 2022 as proposed by the FCC. At that time, those experiencing any sort of mental health crisis must only dial the easier-to-remember 988 number to reach the lifeline. The FCC hopes this shorter format will help those in crisis to be able to quickly recall where to go for help when they need it most.

Until July 16, 2022, however, people experiencing any mental health crisis should still call 1-800-273-TALK.

It is suggested both business and residential customers should reprogram automatic dialing equipment and other programs that are currently using only seven-digit phone numbers to ensure a smooth transition before Oct. 24.

Devices that will be affected include: life safety systems, VoIP and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, alarm and security systems, fax machines, gates, speed dialers, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems, multi-line key systems, call forwarding settings, and voicemail services.

Businesses also should check their advertising materials or business stationary for area code updates.

Important items to note:

  • Your area code and phone number will remain the same.
  • Prices for long-distance and local calls will not change for TDS customers.
  • Long distance calls will still require a +1 before dialing the area code and phone number.
  • Anything using or displaying your phone number should be updated to the full ten-digit number. This could apply to any of the following: marketing materials and business stationary, life safety systems, fax machines, voicemail services, home safety systems and contact lists.

For more information about National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifelife, visit fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.

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