Get used to punching in a few more phone numbers when you place a call. Starting yesterday, all calls made within the 865 area code must be placed using all 10 digits — the area code plus the local phone number.
On and after Sunday, local calls dialed with only seven digits will not go through, according to TDS Telecom. A recording will ask customers to hang up and redial with 10 digits.
It’s more than just local callers who are effected. Automated phone systems in businesses and homes will need to be updated. “Before Oct. 24, customers should reprogram automatic dialing equipment and other devices now programmed with seven digits. Residents and businesses should check with security or alarm companies to make sure their systems are programmed to handle the new 10-digit dialing pattern,” according to a press release from the company.
There are products to think about, too. Life safety systems, VoIP and Private Branch Exchange systems, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems, multi-line key systems, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings and voicemail services might need to change.
Residents and businesses should also check their stationery or advertising materials to make sure the area code is included.
The 10-digit dialing change will prevent people from inadvertently calling the new 9-8-8 emergency phone line by mistake. Those changes are coming next year. Starting July 16, dialing 9-8-8 will connect people to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Until then, people who would like help can continue to call 800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline.