Beginning April 24, Bulloch Solutions and other providers will begin a six-month transition to help customers prepare for 10-digit dialing for all phone calls, including local 912 calls.
The change supports the establishment in 2020 of 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The transition period will help customers prepare for 10-digit dialing, which will be required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) beginning Oct. 24.
“April 24 through October 24 will be what is called a ‘permissive period,’” said Stuart Gregory, director of Business Solutions for Bulloch Solutions. “This means that callers will still be connected to another line when they dial a 7-digit phone number. However, we are encouraging people to begin using 3-digit area codes when dialing numbers as soon as possible in order to become accustomed to the new 10-digit dial rule.
“On October 24, that permissive period will end and individuals who attempt to make a phone call using only seven digits will not be connected and must hang up and dial again using 10 digits. That’s why we want people to go ahead and get in the habit of dialing 10-digits now.”
Somos Inc., which administers the North American area code plan, made the announcement last week
The two Georgia regions are among 82 area codes nationwide making room for the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which begins operation in July 2022. Because those 82 area codes use 988 for the first three numbers of some seven-digit phone numbers, the Federal Communications Commission ordered 10-digit dialing. Otherwise phones won't recognize when someone is trying to call the 988 suicide hotline.
Additionally, 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, however some older equipment may still use seven-digits.
People are advised to contact their medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed prior to Oct. 24 to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing.