(Des Moines) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will transition to a three-digit dialing code (988) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on July 16, 2022. The change will affect Iowa telephone customers in the 515 and 319 area codes by requiring ten-digit dialing to complete local calls.
In order for 988 to work in the Iowa 319 and 515 area codes, every customer in those area codes must transition to 10-digit dialing for local calls. The Iowa Utilities Board is reminding telephone customers that the transition period has begun, and Iowans in the 515 and 319 area codes are encouraged to complete local calls now by dialing 10 digits (area code + seven digit telephone number).
Beginning October 24, 2021, all Iowans with numbers in the 319 and 515 area codes must use 10-digit dialing for all local calls. As of that date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording may indicate a call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get this recording, you must hang up and dial again using the full 10-digit number (area code with the seven-digit telephone number).
Beginning July 16, 2022, anyone dialing 988 will be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The FCC adopted order (FCC 20-100) on July 16, 2020, approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 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.
The FCC ordered that any area code that has the 988 prefix assigned to telephone numbers and uses seven-digit local dialing must transition to 10-digit (area code + telephone number) local dialing to ensure everyone is able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the three-digit code, 988.
What other changes need to be made?
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, but some older equipment may still use seven-digits. 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 October 24, 2021, to avoid interruption of services.
Some other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed are:
- fax machines
- internet dial-up numbers
- home alarms or other 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 ofdigits 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 (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
- You will still dial three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
- If 211 (community information), 311 (non-emergency police and other local governmental services), 411 (local directory assistance), 511 (I-DOT travel/road conditions), 611 (reporting telephone service issues with certain phone companies), or 811 (Iowa One Call – schedule an underground utility locate), 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 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.
Visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) website for more details on the transition to 10-digit dialing or email NANPA at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the dialing procedure change. The FCC website provides additional information on the Suicide Prevention Hotline.