Starting October 24th, 2021, all consumers with the 802 area code must dial 10-digits to complete all local calls. Users must dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) or 1+10 digits (1+area code+telephone number depending on dialing plan) for all local calls in Vermont. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven-digits may not be completed, and a recording will 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.
So, why is this happening? On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted an Order (FCC 20-100) approving the designation of 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, requiring 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: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) starting July 16, 2022. The FCC ordered that these area codes must be transitioned to 10-digit (or 1+10-digit) local dialing to ensure everyone is able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the three-digit 988 code.
Are there any other changes? In addition to changing your dialing patterns, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete local calls using only seven-digit numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers. Some examples 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
Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
What isn’t changing? Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change along with:
- 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+ the 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 (i.e., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
- You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
- Any 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 services available in your community can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) 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 should continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.
If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please reach out. You can also visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline