New dialing procedure for Central Texans

Local News

(Courtesy: Public Utility Commission of Texas)

AUSTIN, Texas – Texans with phone numbers in the 254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940 area codes will need to start dialing ten 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. These areas must transition from seven-digit to ten-digit local dialing. (Areas shown in yellow on this map are not affected by this change.)

April marked the beginning of a “permissive dialing period” where callers in these area codes can still complete a call with seven-digit dialing. When this period expires on October 24, 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.

Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems
must be programmed to use ten-digit dialing. Many systems operate on ten-digit dialing by default, but
some older equipment may still use seven-digits. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done.

Some other examples of services needing to be re-programmed are:
• life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
• PBXs
• 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, you can visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) website here, email NANPA at 988@somos.com with questions about the dialing procedure change, or visit the FCC website here.

Source: Public Utility Commission of Texas

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