Mandatory ten-digit dialing in area begins Sunday

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Ten digit dialing will begin this weekend for area cods 620 and 785.

How to dial a phone number will be changing in portions of Harvey, Butler and McPherson counties — and dozens of other Kansas counties — on Oct. 24.

According to the Kansas Corporation Commission, Kansans who live in area codes 785 or 620 will be required to use 10-digit dialing when making local calls.

At that time, local calls dialed with only seven digits will not go through, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed.  According to the KCC this change, while it may take some time to get used to, will make it easier for persons in crisis to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Last July, the Federal Communications Commission  approved 988 as the new abbreviated number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. As a result, any area code that uses the 988 prefix in telephone numbers is mandated to adopt 10-digit dialing.  That includes Kansas area codes 785 and 620, which cover the majority of the state. In total, 82 area codes in 36 states will make the change.

The FCC initiated a practice period in April allowing both 7-digit and 10-digit dialing to help callers adjust to the change. On Sunday, 10-digit local calling becomes mandatory with the exception of any three digit abbreviated numbers available in the community, such as 911. Callers will still dial 1 + the area code and telephone number for all long distance calls.

Beginning July 16, 2022, callers can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 988. Until then, callers will continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).