Area code dialing changes for all Washington calls
LACEY, Wash. – Callers within the Washington 509 area code must include the area code when dialing starting Oct. 24.
Currently, some landline service providers still allow seven-digit dialing in the 509 area code. Starting Oct. 24 calls made without adding the area code to the seven-digit phone number may not go through.
In July 2022 service providers will completely remove seven-digit dialing from their networks.
This change to 10-digit dialing in eastern Washington’s 509 area code is a first step toward ensuring that everyone in the country will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the three-digit code of 988 that launches in 2022.
On April 24, telecommunications service providers started allowing 10-digit dialing to help prepare 509 area code callers for mandatory dialing changes required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but now the change is required.
Requiring the area code will ensure that customers who already have 988 as the prefix in their phone number don’t have trouble making or receiving calls once the new three-digit dialing shortcut launches. No phone numbers will change because of this FCC requirement.
Ten-digit dialing will not affect the price of calls, coverage areas, whether a call is local or long-distance, rates and services, or any other existing three-digit lines such as 911, 711, and 211.
In addition to the dialing changes, important safety and security equipment such as medical alert devices and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing. While many systems use 10-digit dialing by default, some older equipment may still use seven-digits. Customers should contact their medical alert or security provider if they are not sure whether they need to reprogram their equipment.
Any business with a 509 area code should check its advertising and other materials to make sure it includes the area code when listing its telephone numbers.
In 2017, all western Washington area codes switched to 10-digit dialing, leaving 509 as the only area code in the state that hasn’t made the change from seven digit to 10-digit dialing yet.
Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Until then, callers can reach the hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies, investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies, garbage-collection haulers, household-goods movers and passenger transportation companies, commercial ferries, pipeline companies, marine pilotage, and a low-level radioactive waste repository. The commission does not regulate the rates of broadband services, cellular, cable, or Internet service.
Editor’s note: Information about this change can be found at www.utc.wa.gov/988.