FCC-mandated ten-digit dialing goes into effect this Sunday

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan has reminded the public about the upcoming transition to  Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-mandated ten-digit dialing. The shift will begin on Sunday, October 24th, when residents in the 845 and 914 area codes will be required to dial both the three-digit area code and the seven-digit telephone number in order to complete a call, even if the area code of the call and the caller are the same.

After October 24th, local calls dialed with only seven digits will connect the caller to a recording informing them that the call cannot be completed as dialed. Ulster County residents should simply hang up and dial the area code, then the local number. The transition to ten-digit dialing is solely a process change for making calls and will not change residents’ current telephone numbers.

“As the FCC develops more phone numbers to accommodate a national growing need, I want to ensure our residents are aware and understand the necessary transition,” said Ryan. “If you get a recording that your call cannot be completed as dialed, just hang up and call back with the area code first, then the local number.”

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The change was mandated by the FCC when, in 2020, it established “988” as a new, nationwide phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – that number will be available by July 16th, 2022. Until then, Americans who reach out for help must dial 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK).

The new three-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline affects 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory that currently use “988” as a local exchange. Ulster County’s two area codes, 845 and 914, are among five in New York State that are affected.