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11-Digit Dialing Change Takes Effect

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Sonora, CA — Effective now, you need to dial a 1 plus the 209 area code when making local calls.

The FCC originally indicated that the change would take effect about a week ago, but there was a short delay in implementation. Those in the 209 area code can no longer just dial seven digits to make local calls.

(You must dial 1 + area code + phone number)

If you just dial the seven-digit phone number, you will receive a message stating that the call cannot go through. There is somewhat of a debate whether to call it 10-digit dialing or 11 digit dialing. Cell phones automatically add the 1 if you just dial the 10 digit number. However, on a landline, you will need to dial the full 11 digits.

The FCC details its reasoning for the change to 11 (or 10) digit dialing:

There are more phones in America than there are people, and each phone needs its own phone number. Beginning in the early 1990s, to accommodate the growing need for more phone numbers, some areas began to add a second area code for local calls. Dialing both the area code and the seven-digit number was necessary to ensure the call reached the intended recipient. As more area codes begin to run out of new seven-digit numbers to assign, a second local area code may be added, requiring that area to transition to ten-digit dialing.

In 2020, the FCC established “988” as the new, nationwide three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The new three-digit dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16, 2022 and will provide an easy-to-remember and easy to dial three-digit number to reach suicide prevention and mental health counselors, similar to “911” for emergencies and “311” for local government services. To help facilitate the creation of “988”, area codes that use “988” as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, will need to use 10-digit dialing.