DENVER — On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022. The FCC order requires all telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and one-way VoIP providers to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.
In order for 988 to work, customers in many area codes across the country with seven-digit local dialing, including 719 and 970 in Colorado, must be transitioned to 10-digit local dialing.
The FCC ordered that any area code that has the 988 prefix assigned as telephone numbers and has seven-digit local dialing be transitioned to 10-digit local dialing to ensure everyone is able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the three-digit 988 code.
Beginning April 24, 2021, Colorado customers with numbers in the 719 and 970 area codes should start dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. This is known as a permissive dialing period because if you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed. Beginning October 24, 2021, customers in the 719 and 970 area codes must dial 10 digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed.
Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default but some older equipment may still use seven-digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done during the permissive dialing period from April 24, 2021 to October 24, 2021 to avoid interruption of services.
Some other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed are:
- life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
- private branch exchanges (PBXs)
- fax machines
- Internet dial-up numbers
- fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
- speed dialers
- mobile or other wireless phone contact lists
- call forwarding settings
- voicemail services and other similar functions
Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
What will remain the same?
- Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
- The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.
- What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
- You will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance
- You will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required.
- You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services).
- If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, dial these codes with just three digits.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect.
Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.
Visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) website or email NANPA at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the dialing procedure change, or you may visit the FCC website.
About the PUC
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) serves the public interest by effectively regulating utilities and facilities so that the people of Colorado receive safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced services consistent with the economic, environmental and social values of our state.