The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the designation of 988 as the new national, 3-digit suicide and mental health crisis hotline. The new hotline will be dialed nationally as a 3-digit number, similar to 911, which is the national emergency call system, and will come into effect in 2022.
To prepare for the new hotline, the FCC is mandating customers move from 7-digit dialing to 10-digit dialing by October 24, 2021. Starting on April 24, 2021, impacted customers can begin practicing dialing 10-digits as well as reprogramming phones or PBX systems as needed.
To complete all local calls, you will need to dial the area code plus the telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with 7-digits.
On and after October 24, 2021, local calls dialed with only 7-digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get that recording, you must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit telephone number.
In addition to changing your dialing patterns, all services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete 7-digit local calls will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers e.g., fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates, call forwarding settings and voicemail services or other similar functions.
Note: Customers located in California may have to dial 11-digits, for example, 1-555-988-5555.
Federal Communications Commission Press Release: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-365563A1.pdf
What does 10-digit dialing have to do with the new suicide prevention hotline?
Many customers are served out of areas with a prefix of 988 and use seven-digit dialing. For example, if your number is 988-5555, anyone dialing your number would call the new national suicide prevention hotline in 2022. Dialing 10-digits, which include your area code, will prevent this (e.g., callers will dial 555-988-5555, instead of 988-5555).
What changes do I need to make to my premise equipment to prepare?
You may need to make updates to your phones or PBX system to enable 10-digit dialing. This may or may not affect your current Allstream services. We want to make sure you are prepared for the change so please consult your on-premises equipment vendor. If your services are with Allstream, you can contact Allstream’s UC Repair team at 1-888-985-8010.
When can I update my premise equipment for this change?
Between April 24 and October 23, 2021, you can practice using 10-digit dialing and reprogram your equipment. On October 24, 2021, you are required to use 10-digit dialing for all calls.
When am I required to dial 10 digits for all calls?
On October 24, 2021, you are required to use 10 digital dialing for all calls.
Will I have to change my phone number?
Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
I’m not sure what updates I need to make to my phone equipment. Who can I contact for help?
Please consult your on-premises equipment vendor. If Allstream is your current phone system vendor, you can contact Allstream’s UC Repair team at 1-888-985-8010.