Alaskans need to dial 10 digits to make phone calls starting Sunday

Mandatory 10 digit dialing begin in South Dakota on October 24th. Before the deadline,...
Mandatory 10 digit dialing begin in South Dakota on October 24th. Before the deadline, telecommunication companies are busy getting their customers back up to speed.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 4:26 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Across 35 states and 82 separate area codes including the entire state of Alaska, 10 digits will be required to reach another person by telephone.

The Federal Communications Commission announced earlier this year that 10 digits would be required to connect calls to allow the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to use the “988″ three-digit shortcut. The switch to 10-digit dialing starts on Sunday, Oct. 24.

“There are more phones in America than there are people, and each phone needs its own phone number. Beginning in the early 1990s, to accommodate the growing need for more phone numbers, some areas began to add a second area code for local calls. Dialing both the area code and the seven-digit number was necessary to ensure the call reached the intended recipient,” wrote the FCC in a consumer guide explaining the change. “As more area codes begin to run out of new seven-digit numbers to assign, a second local area code may be added, requiring that area to transition to ten-digit dialing... To help facilitate the creation of “988″, area codes that use “988″ as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, will need to use 10-digit dialing.”

The traditional number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline remains available at 1-800-273-8255 during the transition to the “988″ shortcut, which will begin on July 16, 2022. Veterans can reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing “1″ after dialing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or exchange messages online at Additionally, area code “708″ phone numbers in California and Illinois will require a “1″ to be dialed in front of the three-digit area code.

“Beginning on October 24, 2021, you must dial ten digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not connect, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code and the seven-digit number,” wrote the FCC.

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