Large parts of the U.S. will lose 7-digit local calls

Until the 1990s, each area code served one area, and each geographic area had one area code. Local calls were dialed as 7 digits (7D). Then came overlays, two or more numeric area codes serving the same geographic area, which brought with them the requirement to dial all local calls — even within the same area code — as 10 digits (10D), or in some areas 1 + 10 digits (1+10D). As of 2020, there are about 78 overlay areas, with a total of 169 area codes involved. There are 156 area codes in the United States that are not in an overlay; in those area codes, you can still dial a local call in the same area code as just 7 digits. Eleven of those 156 area codes are planning overlays in 2021 or early 2022, and will thus introduce mandatory 10‑digit dialing. That leaves 145 “single” area codes, of which at least 82 will lose 7‑digit local dialing in the next year.

What is happening?

The U.S. federal government has mandated that, beginning July 16, 2022, the special 3‑digit telephone number 988 will be used nationwide for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Please note: if you are feeling distressed and the 988 number is not yet working, please call toll‑free 1-800-273-TALK [1-800-273-8255], any time, 24/7. It is 100% confidential.)

However, many area codes have ordinary 7‑digit numbers of the form 988-xxxx. That introduces the possibility of ambiguity: are you dialing 988 for the Lifeline, or are you dialing 988‑xxxx for a business or residence? To resolve the issue, the FCC has ordered that all 82 area codes that currently have 988‑xxxx numbers and allow 7‑digit local calls, must change over to 10‑digit or 1+10D local calls before the new Lifeline number goes into effect. [Technical details: NANPA PL-556] To find the details for your state, see below. (Click your state here: AK, AL, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, GU, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MP, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VI, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY)

Update: North Dakota keeps 7D

The state of North Dakota (area code 701) had a 988 prefix (i.e., numbers of the form 701-988-xxxx), and so were slated to change to mandatory 10‑digit dialing statewide. However, instead, they reclaimed the 988 prefix, allowing the state to keep 7‑digit local calls. Any existing (701) 988-xxxx numbers will change to a different prefix. However, North Dakota is expected to have an overlay around 2025, so you’ll be switching to 10D pretty soon anyway.

Already 10D statewide

The following states and territories already have mandatory 10‑digit (or 1+10D) dialing of all local calls statewide: Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and (as of October 9, 2021) District of Columbia.

Changing to 10D statewide by July 15, 2022

The following states and territories will change to mandatory 10‑digit (or 1+10D) dialing of all local calls, with the requirement phased in between October 24, 2021 and July 15, 2022: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington State, Wisconsin, and Guam. Different locations and even different telephone companies in a particular location may have different cutoff dates, anywhere within those 9 months.

Keeping 7D statewide

The following four states, plus three U.S. territories, currently permit 7‑digit dialing of local calls within the same area code and are not affected by this federal mandate: Maine, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Wyoming, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Of course, if one of these states implements an area code overlay, it will have to switch to 10‑digit local dialing. That’s projected for Maine in 2024 and North Dakota in 2025. American Samoa is expected to need an overlay circa 2186, and no, that’s not a typo!)

No changes (mixed 7D and 10D)

The following states currently have a mixture of 7‑digit and 10‑digit local dialing, but will not be affected by the new federal mandate: Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. In those five states, the areas that currently allow 7‑digit local calling may continue to do so, until/unless they get an overlay.

Upcoming Overlays

All of the area codes with overlays expected in 2021, 2022, or 2023, are already slated for 10D local calling as a result of the 988 mandate. However, there are several area codes that will keep 7D local calls, but then lose them with overlays coming in short order. Specifically, Maine’s 207, Missouri’s 573, Arkansas’s 870, and Florida’s 904 are expecting overlays in 2024, with Michigan’s 313, South Carolina’s 864, Minnesota’s 507, North Dakota’s 701, Alabama’s 334, and Arizona’s 602 expected to follow in 2025.

Mixed 7D and 10D with some changes

That brings us to the 21 states where some, but not all, of the area codes will change from 7D to 10D. Those changes are summarized in the chart below. (Area codes that will change to 10‑digit dialing are shown in bold.)

State-by-state list of changes to local dialing

Notations:
 indicates an area that requires (or will require) 1+10D instead of 10D local dialing;
 indicates an area that recently changed or will change before October 24, 2021;
 indicates an area that is likely to change within the next few years due to an expected overlay or for uniformity within a state or metropolitan area;
an (area code) in parentheses is an overlay that has not yet taken effect
State Dial Area Code(s)
Alabama 7D ⇒ 10D 251
remain 7D 334‡
remain 10D 205 & 659, 256 & 938
Arizona 7D ⇒ 10D 480‡, 520, 928
remain 7D 602‡, 623‡
Arkansas 7D ⇒ 10D 501
remain 7D 479, 870‡
California 7D ⇒ 1+10D✻ 209‡, 530, 562, 626, 650, 707‡, 949, 951
remain 7D 559, 661, 831
remain 1+10D✻ 213 & 323, 310 & 424, 408 & 669, 415 & 628, 510 & 341, 619 & 858, 714 & 657, 760 & 442, 805 & 820, 818 & 747, 909 & 840, 916 & 279
Florida 7D ⇒ 10D 321 only (Brevard Co., “Space Coast” area), 352, 561‡, 813 (& 656†), 941
remain 7D 239, 386, 727, 772, 863, 904‡
remain 10D 305 & 786, 407 & 321 & 689 (Orlando area), 850 & 448†, 954 & 754
Georgia 7D ⇒ 10D 478, 912
remain 7D 229‡
remain 10D 404 & 770 & 678 & 470, 706 & 762
Indiana 7D ⇒ 10D 219, 574
remain 7D 260, 765
remain 10D 317 & 463, 812 & 930
Iowa 7D ⇒ 10D 319, 515
remain 7D 563, 641, 712
Kansas 7D ⇒ 10D 620, 785
remain 7D 316, 913‡
Kentucky 7D ⇒ 10D 859
remain 7D 502, 606
remain 10D 270 & 364
Louisiana 7D ⇒ 10D 337, 504
remain 7D 225, 318, 985
Massachusetts 7D ⇒ 10D (none)
remain 7D 413
remain 10D 508 & 774, 617 & 857, 781 & 339, 978 & 351
Michigan 7D ⇒ 10D 616, 810, 906, 989
remain 7D 231, 269, 313, 517, 586, 734
remain 10D 248 & 947
Minnesota 7D ⇒ 10D 218, 952
remain 7D 320, 507‡, 612, 651, 763
Mississippi 7D ⇒ 10D 662
remain 7D 228
remain 10D 601 & 769
Missouri 7D ⇒ 10D 314, 417, 660, 816
remain 7D 573‡, 636
Nebraska 7D ⇒ 10D (none)
remain 7D 308
remain 10D 402 & 531
New York 7D ⇒ 10D 516‡, 607, 716, 845, 914
remain 7D 585‡
remain 10D 212 & 646 & 332✻, 315 & 680, 518 & 838, 631 & 934, 718 & 347 & 929✻, 917✻
North Carolina 7D ⇒ 10D 910 (& 472‡)
remain 7D 252, 828
remain 10D 336 & 743, 704 & 980, 919 & 984
Ohio 7D ⇒ 10D 440, 513
remain 7D 216‡
remain 10D 330 & 234, 419 & 567, 614 & 380, 740 & 220, 937 & 326
Oklahoma 7D ⇒ 10D (none)
remain 7D 580
remain 10D 405 & 572†, 918 & 539
Pennsylvania 7D ⇒ 10D (none)
remain 7D (none)
keep 10D 215 & 267 & 445, 412 & 724 & 878, 570 & 272, 610 & 484, 717 & 223, 814 & 582†
South Carolina 7D ⇒ 10D (none)
remain 7D 864‡
remain 10D 803 & 839, 843 & 854
Tennessee 7D ⇒ 10D 731, 865
remain 7D 423, 901, 931
remain 10D 615 & 629
Texas 7D ⇒ 10D 254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915, 940
remain 7D 325, 432, 936, 956, 979
remain 10D 210 & 726, 214 & 972 & 469 & 945, 512 & 737, 713 & 281 & 832 & 346, 817 & 682, 903 & 430
Utah 7D ⇒ 10D (none)
remain 7D 435
remain 10D 801 & 385
Virginia 7D ⇒ 10D 276, 540 (& 826†), 757 (& 948†), 804‡
remain 7D 434‡
remain 10D 703 & 571

If you live in an area that is changing

If you live in an area shown above as “7D ⇒ 10D,” you should take action before October 24, 2021 to ensure that any equipment you have that might be programmed to dial a local number as 7 digits, is reprogrammed to dial 10D or 1+10D (depending on local/state regulations). That includes fax machines (remember those?), stored numbers in your landline phone (including cordless phones connected to a landline), alarm systems, PBX systems, and even your cellular phone.


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