October 31, 2021

Photo of an open diary in a leather cover on the left with an old-fashioned telephone with push buttons on the right.

Photo from Canva.com.

The other morning, a coworker tried calling our office during her commute. The call wouldn’t go through. The contractor we hired to connect the telecomm cables in our new office also couldn’t get through to us.

After a bit of research, we discovered that the issue had to do with US area codes. For the past few years, in many locations you could dial a phone number inside your local area code without using the area code. As of October 24, 2021, that’s no longer the case. Due to the planned rollout in July 2022 of dialing 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, all local calls in certain US area codes now require you to dial the area code.

Because I used to travel daily outside of my local area code, all numbers in my contact list already include the area code and I’m used to dialing it. In fact, I’m old-fashioned enough to keep dialing 1 before the area code when I use my cell phone, which is no longer required for cell calls, although 1 may be required by your landline provider. I’m trying to break myself of that habit. 

Here’s an article on Verizon’s site that explains the changes and lists the affected states/area codes. 

So, if you’re having trouble reaching out and touching someone local in the US, try dialing the area code.

Historical Note: For those of you who don't recognize the title of this article, Reach Out and Touch Someone was the AT&T slogan back in the late 70s early 80s. 

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