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

Update: 4 areas of Canada, too, in 2023

Canada: in English

Canada followed suit, with the CRTC ordering on that the 9-8-8 suicide prevention number be implemented nationwide, effective . However, since all the major population centres of Canada already have 10-digit local calling because they are in area code overlays, only a few parts of Canada will have to change their dialing habits.

The province of New Brunswick was already scheduled to have an overlay on , so its transition to 10-digit local calls will continue as planned. The province of Newfoundland & Labrador has been planning an overlay, but managed to postpone it, probably to about 2026. However, there is a 709-988 prefix in the tiny settlement of Norman’s Bay, Labrador, population 15 (2021 census). That means that the entire province gets to start about 3 years early on 10-digit local calls, rather than make just over a dozen people change their telephone numbers. Area code 867, serving Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, also has an 867-988 prefix, located in Yellowknife, NWT, but the CRTC has ordered 10-digit local calling only in Yellowknife; the rest of the North gets to keep dialing only 7 digits.

And then there’s Northwest Ontario, including Thunder Bay, Kenora, and Fort Severn (ᐗᔕᐦᐅ ᐃᓂᓂᐗᐠ). Area code 807 still has 7-digit local calls, and does not have an 807-988 prefix, so everything is fine, right? Well, no. For no discernible reason, the CRTC has ordered 807 to start 10-digit dialing anyway. See the details at the link above.

If you are feeling distressed and the 9-8-8 number is not yet working, please call toll-free 1-833-456-4566 or text 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth). Within Québec, call 1-866-APPELLE or text 1-855-957-5353.

Canada: en français

Le Canada a emboîté le pas. Le , le CRTC ordonna que le numéro de prévention du suicide 9-8-8 soit mis en œuvre à l’échelle nationale, à compter du . Cependant, comme tous les grands centres de population du Canada ont déja des appels locaux à dix chiffres parce qu’ils sont en recouvrements, seules quelques parties du Canada devront changer leurs habitudes de composition.

La province du Nouveau-Brunswick devait déjà avoir un recouvrement le , donc sa transition vers les appels locaux à dix chiffres se poursuivra comme prévue. La province de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador a prévu un recouvrement, mais a réussi à le reporter, probablement jusqu’à environ 2026. Cependant, il y a un préfixe 709-988 dans le petit village de Norman’s Bay, Labrador, population 15 (recensement de 2021). Ça signifie que toute la province commencera environ 3 ans plus tôt avec les appels locaux à dix chiffres, plutôt que d’obliger plus d’une douzaine de personnes à changer de numéro de téléphone. L’indicatif régional 867, qui dessert le Yukon, les Territoires du Nord-Ouest, et le Nunavut, aussi utilise le préfixe 867-988 à Yellowknife, T.N.O., mais la CRTC ordonna des appels locaux à dix chiffres seulement à Yellowknife; le reste du Nord peut conserver les appels locaux à sept chiffres.

Et puis il y a l’indicatif régional 807, qui dessert le nord-ouest de l’Ontario, y compris Thunder Bay, Kenora, et Fort Severn (ᐗᔕᐦᐅ ᐃᓂᓂᐗᐠ). À l’indicatif régional 807, on permet encore les appels locaux à sept chiffres, et il n’y a pas de préfixe 807-988, donc tout va bien, n’est-ce pas? Et bien non. Sans raison apparente, la CRTC ordonna les appels à dix chiffres au 807. Voir les détails sur le lien ci-dessus [en anglais].

Au Québec, si tu te sens en détresse et le numéro 9-8-8 n’est pas encore en service, veuille appeler sans frais 1-866-APPELLE ou envoyer un SMS à 1-855-957-5353. Dans le reste du Canada, veuille appeler sans frais 1-833-456-4566 ou envoyer un SMS à 741741 (adultes) ou à 686868 (jeunes).

Canada: table

Changes to local dialing in Canada

Notations:
 indicates an area that will change before ;
an (area code) in parentheses is an overlay that has not yet taken effect
Province/Territory Dial Area Code(s)
New Brunswick 7D ⇒ 10D 506† (& 428) (effective )
Newfoundland
& Labrador
7D ⇒ 10D 709
Northwest
Territories
remain 7D 867 (everywhere except Yellowknife)
7D ⇒ 10D 867 (Yellowknife local calling area)
Nunavut
Yukon
remain 7D 867 (entirety of both territories)
Ontario 7D ⇒ 10D 807 (for no apparent reason!)
remain 10D 416 & 647 & 437, 519 & 226 & 548 (& 382), 613 & 343 & 753, 705 & 249 & 683, 905 & 289 & 365 & 742
AB, BC, MB,
NS, PE, QC, SK
remain 10D (all other provinces and area codes)

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 were about 78 overlay areas, with a total of 169 area codes involved. There were 156 area codes in the United States that were not in an overlay; in those area codes, you could still dial a local call in the same area code as just 7 digits. Eleven of those 156 area codes had overlays in 2021 or early 2022, and thus introduced mandatory 10-digit dialing. That leaves 145 “single” area codes, of which 82 lost 7-digit local dialing in 2021 and 2022.

What is happening?

The U.S. federal government mandated that, beginning , the special 3-digit telephone number 9-8-8 will be used nationwide for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

However, many area codes have ordinary 7-digit numbers of the form 988-xxxx. That introduces the possibility of ambiguity: are you dialing 9-8-8 for the Lifeline, or are you dialing 988-xxxx for a business or residence? To resolve the issue, the FCC ordered that all 82 area codes that currently have 988-xxxx numbers and allowed 7-digit local calls, change over to 10-digit or 1+10D local calls before the new Lifeline number went 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)

more information

Update: North Dakota kept 7D (for now)

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 were changed 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 had mandatory 10-digit (or 1+10D) dialing of all local calls statewide: Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and District of Columbia.

Changed to 10D statewide by July 15, 2022

The following states and territories changed to mandatory 10-digit (or 1+10D) dialing of all local calls: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington State, Wisconsin, and Guam.

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 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 and 2022 are already slated for 10D local calling as a result of the 9-8-8 mandate. However, there are several area codes that will keep 7D local calls, but then lose them with overlays coming in short order. Specifically, 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, and Alabama’s 334 expected to follow in 2025. Maine’s 207 was looking at an overlay as early as 2024, but conservation efforts have pushed that back to 2026 or 2027. Most of Arizona has changed to 10D local calls for the Big 10D, with the two remaining area codes, 602 and 623, changing on , in preparation for the 602 & 480 & 623 “boundary elimination” overlay.

Mixed 7D and 10D with some changes

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

State-by-state list of changes to local dialing

Notations:
 indicates an area that requires 1+10D instead of 10D local dialing;
 indicates an area that changed before ;
 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‡ (both changing to 10D in 2023)
Arkansas 7D ⇒ 10D 501
remain 7D 479, 870‡
California 7D ⇒ 1+10D✻ 209‡, 530, 562, 626, 650, 707‡, 925, 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 (& 283‡)
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 just changed

If you live in an area shown above as “7D ⇒ 10D,” you should take action to ensure that any equipment you have that might be programmed to dial a local number as 7 digits, is reprogrammed to dial 10D. 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.