Mandatory 10-Digit Local Dialing Coming in October to 731 and 865 Area Codes – Facilitates 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Telephone changes to the 731 and 865 area codes are being made to facilitate the implementation of the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
File Photo / The Lexington Progress

Article by W. Clay Crook-

911 Director Pam Tolley shared a recent bulletin that went out to all 911 State and County Coordinators and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) on telephone dialing changes for our 731 area code, and for the 865 area code, which is the Knoxville area. This will facilitate the implementation of the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. Effective October 24, 2021, it will be mandatory to use the full 10-digit telephone number for local dialing in Tennessee for area codes 731 and 865. However, the FCC is encouraging the use of the 10-digit system for local calls to be started in April 2021.

Why is the local dialing plan changing?
On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the 3-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, starting July 16, 2022. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

The Order requires all telecommunications carriers and Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, as well as one-way VoIP providers (covered providers) to make any network changes necessary to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16,2022. For 988 to work in the Tennessee 731 and 865 area codes, 10-digit local dialing must first be implemented.

Does this apply to Tennessee?
Yes. Implementation of this Order requires all covered providers to make 10-digit dialing mandatory for all local calls in the entire Tennessee 731 and 865 area codes.

Why is 10-digit dialing going to be required in this area code?
The FCC ordered that any area code that has the 988 prefix and has 7-digit local dialing be transitioned to 10-digit local dialing to ensure everyone is able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the 3-digit 988 code.

Will everyone in the 731 and 865 area codes have to dial 10 digits for local calls?
Yes. Every customer with a number from the 731 and 865 area codes will change to mandatory 10 digit dialing for local calls. Dialing 7 digits for local calls will be prohibited for all customers in the entire area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?
To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial the area code + telephone number. This means that all local calls in the entire 731 and 865 area codes that are currently dialed with 7 digits will need to be dialed using…

For complete coverage, see the February 17th edition of The Lexington Progress.

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