Transition to Ten-Digit Local Calls Begins for El Pasoans
If you’re one of those people who still calls people you should probably start getting used to tapping all 10-digits to make a local call. That means area code plus telephone number, you know, like what you do now when you make a long-distance call but without the 1.
The reason for the change is to make it easier for people in a mental health crisis to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
To make access quicker and the number easier to remember, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order in 2020 making 988 the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – like simply dialing 911 for an emergency, in other words.
And because the 915 has local numbers that begin with 988, we’re one of the area codes that has to transition from seven-digit to ten-digit local dialing.
The FCC is giving us until October 24 to get used to it. They call the period between now and then the “permissive dialing period” meaning we can still reach someone with seven-digit dialing. But after October 24, 2021, only calls dialed with ten digits will be connected.
Any local calls made without the area code will get a recording saying, “who still calls people this day and age? Hang up and text, Old-timer.” Naw, just kidding. But seriously, who still calls people?
If you do forget after October, you will be politely prompted to hang up and dial again using both the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.
So, long story longer, you might as well start going through your contact list and checking for any numbers your smartphone didn't already save with the area code.
And one day you're going to be one of those old people saying, "Remember the days when you didn’t have to dial the area code to make a local call?"