AUSTIN, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) — The following is a news release from the Public Utility Commission of Texas:
Starting on April 24, 2021, Texans with phone numbers in the 254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940 area codes should get in the habit of dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls.
On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Order requires all telecommunications providers (including telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol [VoIP] providers, and one-way VoIP providers [covered providers]) to make any network changes necessary to ensure 988 access by July 16, 2022.
Several Texas area codes (254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940) have numbers with a 988 prefix. Therefore, those areas must transition from seven-digit to 10-digit local dialing.
April 24, 2021 marks the beginning of a “permissive dialing period” in which callers in those area codes can still complete a call with seven-digit dialing. When that period expires on October 24, 2021, only calls dialed with ten digits will be connected.
After the permissive dialing period, local calls dialed with only seven digits will reach a recording prompting them to hang up and dial again using both the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.
What other changes need to be made?
Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use seven digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done during the permissive dialing period from April 24, 2021, to October 24, 2021, to avoid interruption of those services.
Some other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed are:
- life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
- 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
Customers should also ensure the area code is included in all other places where a telephone number is displayed like their websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, and even personal or pet ID tags.
What will remain the same?
- Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change
- The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change
- What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed
- Customers will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls
- Customers will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
- Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
- If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 are currently available in one’s community, they can still be dialed with just three digits
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect.
Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.
To learn more, visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) website at https://www.nationalnanpa.com/transition_to_10_digit_dialing_for_988/index.html, email NANPA at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the dialing procedure change, or visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline
About the Public Utility Commission
Our mission is to serve Texans by regulating the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, implementing respective legislation, and offering customer assistance in resolving consumer complaints. Since its founding in 1975, the Commission has a long and proud history of service to Texas, protecting customers, fostering competition, and promoting high quality infrastructure. To learn more, please visit http://www.puc.texas.gov and follow the PUC on social media.
(News release from the Public Utility Commission of Texas)