In July of 2020, the FCC adopted an order (FCC 20-100) that approved 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022. The order requires all telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers and one-way VoIP providers (covered providers) to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.
In order for 988 to work in Arizona’s 480, 520 and 928 area codes, every customer with a number in those area codes with seven-digit local dialing must be transitioned to 10-digit dialing. The FCC ordered that any area code that has the 988 prefix assigned as telephone numbers and has seven-digit local dialing be transitioned to 10-digit (area code + phone number) local dialing to ensure everyone is able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the three-digit 988 code.
Consumers with numbers in the 480, 520 and 928 area codes should start dialing 10 digits (area code + phone number) for all local calls. This is known as a ‘permissive dialing period’ because if you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed.
Beginning October 24, consumers with numbers in the 480, 520 and 928 area codes must dial 10 digits (area code + phone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed and a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get this recording, you must hang up and dial again using 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/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 to Oct. 24 to avoid interruption of services.
Some other examples of services that may need to be reprogrammed are:
Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices; PBXs; Fax machines; Internet dial-up numbers; Fire or burglar alarms and security systems or gates; Speed dialers; Mobile or other wireless phone contact lists; Call forwarding settings; Voicemail services and other similar functions
Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, personal or pet ID tags and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
What will remain the same?
Your telephone number, 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
You will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls
You 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
You 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 your community, dial these codes 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 your call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.