All local dialing must now include the 218 area code
By Enterprise staff
As of Sunday, Oct. 24, residents around Kittson County had to start dialing local phone numbers including the area code.
According to the Wiktel website, the 10-digit dialing is now required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “in support of connecting 988 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.” The use of 988 to direct dial this line won’t go into effect until July 2022.
Several local cell phone numbers have the prefix of 988.
Any calls made with the regular seven digits will give the caller the message, “Your call cannot be completed as dialed.”
You must now dial 218 before any local numbers you call.
According to the FCC website, “82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory currently use ‘988’ as their local exchange and allow seven-digit dialing.”
According to a release from Wiktel, other devices that rely on automatic dialing or are programmed to call seven-digit numbers must be reprogrammed. Some of these include life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, fire or burglar alarms, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings and voicemail services.
The release also states phone numbers will remain the same.
The dialing change will not affect the prices of calls, coverage area or other rates and services. All other three-digit numbers can still be reached by just dialing those numbers – 911, 711, 211, 311, 411, 511, 611 and 811.
Until 988 is implemented, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more information about this issue, visit fcc.gov/consumers/guides/ten-digit-dialing.