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Ten-Digit Dialing: The way you call friends and family may change in October

Posted at 9:37 AM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 13:24:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you do not already add the 804 area code while making local calls to friends, family, and others in Central Virginia -- start.

On October 24, 2021, you must dial ten digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls in Central Virginia, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

The reason for the change is the nation's new toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL).

"Starting in July 2022, the NSPL will also be getting its own three-digit dialing number – 988," a spokesperson for the Virginia State Corporation Commission wrote in an email. "Dialing 988 will therefore directly reach the NSPL. Before that can happen, dialing changes will be necessary in two Virginia area codes – 804 and 276."

The numbers 988 are already the beginning of many existing Virginia phone numbers in those area codes.

So if you dialed 988 to call a friend -- you'd actually ring the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In order to reach your friends and family and not dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, area code 804 will be required dialing.

Here's a breakdown of the timeline:

  • April 24, 2021 – permissive 10-digit dialing begins for all local calls
  • October 24, 2021 – mandatory 10-digit dialing required for all local calls
  • July 16, 2022 – 988 for NSPL is active

The nation's toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can currently be reached, day or night, at 800-273-8255.

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