Whether you use a cell phone or still have a landline, a change is coming for residents who live within the 218 area code in Minnesota.  As of Sunday, October 24,  2021, you'll need to dial all ten of the digits (in other words the full phone number) in order to place a call - even local calls within the same area code.

The change is a hold-over requirement of the new 988 emergency phone line that will be active as of July 16, 2022.  That number (988) will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.  In establishing a shorter, national suicide prevention hotline number, the Federal Communications Commission hopes to provide an easy-to-remember, shorter number to give people help when they need it.

Gary Shannon
Gary Shannon

Since making the announcement last year about the switch to ten-digit dialing in the 218 area code, callers have been able to dial local numbers both ways - without the area code (as they have in the past) and with the area code (the new way) as a method of easing the transition period.  As of the October 24 deadline though, ten-digit dialing (the complete phone number - with the area code) will become a mandatory thing; i.e. calls dialed without the full ten-digit number will not go through.

If you accidentally forget to use the area code when placing a local phone call after the October deadline, a prerecorded message will instruct you to hang up and dial the number again with the full phone number.

Hipster using a touch screen smart phone hands close up, vintage colors

Many organizations - from the Federal Communications Commission to local phone companies - have been working together to educate people about the impending change and requirement.  In addition to remembering to dial the ten-digit number when placing phone calls, they offer the following products that might need a revision or update to make sure that they're still operating correctly (dialing correctly) after the October 24 deadline:

  • Fax machines
  • Dial-in modems
  • Alarm systems
  • Security systems
  • Multi-line key systems
  • Auto-dial systems
  • Electronic telephone sets
  • Life safety devices
  • VolP and Private Branch Exhange (PBX) systems
  • Internet dial-up numbers
  • Gates
  • Speed dialers
  • Call forward settings
  • Voicemail services

Both personal phone customers and businesses are also reminded to update and make the corrections to their phone numbers on paper letterhead, email signatures, and business cards. Any advertising materials that include a phone number should also be updated and revised.

1960s style antique black telephone isolated on white

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