Docket Number: UT-200753
Area code dialing changes for all Washington calls
Lacey, Wash. - Callers within the Washington 509 area code may start including the area code when dialing next month.
Beginning April 24, telecommunications service providers will allow 10-digit dialing to help prepare 509 callers for mandatory dialing changes required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Currently, some callers can only use seven-digit dialing for calls within the 509 area code.
Starting Oct. 24, 2021 calls made without adding the area code to the seven-digit phone number may not go through, and in July 2022 service providers will completely remove seven-digit dialing from their networks.
This change to 10-digit dialing in 509 is a first step toward ensuring that everyone in the country will be able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using a three-digit code of 988 that launches in 2022.
Requiring the area code will also 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 order.
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 telephone number 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 April 24, Washington callers will be able to dial the same way anywhere in the state.
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).
36 states are transitioning to 10-digit dialing in a total of 82 area codes to prepare for the 988 hotline.
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 on our 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline Launch webpage.