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Snippet: Area-Codeless Local Calls Will Largely Go Away in October—But For a Good Reason ☇

Shared on March 25, 2021

Mitchell Clark for The Verge:

In many places, you can call up a neighbor or local pizza parlor just by dialing seven numbers, as long as you have the same area code — but that ability will soon be going away, in order to make the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline easier to reach. If you live in one of the areas where the change is taking place, you’ll soon have to dial 10 numbers whether you’re making a local call or not.

Each cellular carrier has a support page explaining the change (we’ll link to all of them below, and a list of the area codes will be included at the end of the post), but the basic gist is that, starting October 24, 2021, anyone trying to call a local number using only seven digits will be met with a recording telling them to hang up and try again with the full area code. The change will apply to landlines, cell phones, and VoIP systems.

While most people would argue that we don’t really even think about phone numbers if they’re stored on smartphone contact lists or found via a favorite mapping app, there’s still plenty of office jobs that dial numbers by hand. Either way, phone numbers have ten digits, have for a long time, and anyone still thinking in terms of seven digits needs to get with the times.

There will probably be a handful of people grumpy about this, but it’s for a good reason and also means that phone numbers that use the 988 prefix (i.e. (###) 988-####) won’t need to be changed or reassigned. In many other places, ten-digit dialing has become the norm due to new area codes overlaid on top of existing ones (or having a phone number from an area code that’s different where you live).

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.