Ten-digit dialing for area code 970 to start later this year

A multi-line telephone system. (Montrose Daily Press file photo) 

Starting Oct. 24, Colorado customers with the 970 and 719 area code are required to dial 10 digits (three-digit area code plus the seven-digit telephone number) for every local call.

After Oct. 24, if you just dial the 7-digit telephone number without the area code (which is currently permitted), it’s likely the call won’t go through and you’ll likely hear a recording that says the call can’t be completed. You’ll have to dial again using the area code.

For those using 970, the area code covers north of Fort Collins and northeast portion of the state, as well as north of Grand Junction, the Western Slope and southwest past Durango.

The rule applies to all telecommunications carriers and VoIP providers.

The requirement was announced earlier this year after the Federal Communications Commission in July 2020 approved 988 as an abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The 988 code won’t be in effect until July 16, 2022, so people are still required to dial 1-800-273-8255 to reach the Lifeline. Individuals can also dial that lifeline once that 988 code is in effect, however. Phone service providers are required to direct all 988 calls to the Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

In April, to allow for a smooth transition to 10-digit dialing, the FCC and Colorado Department of Local Agencies suggested people affected by the change start dialing with all 10 digits. It’s known as a permissive dialing period that allows seven-digit calls to go through while consumers get accustomed to the change.

The rule comes with some required changes, so if you haven’t made the adjustment, or are still catching up, here’s what you need to know to avoid interruptions:

• If you have medical alert devices and alarm and security systems, they’ll need to be reprogrammed for 10-digit dialing.

• You’ll likely need to reprogram fax machines, speed dialers, voicemail services, life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, so if you haven’t done so, it’ll ease the transition if you accommodate the switch.

• Some other services that are likely in need of a switch include private branch exchanges, internet dial-up numbers, mobile or other wireless contact lists and call forwarding settings.

There are some items that will stay the same. Here’s what won’t change:

• Your telephone number, including the area code.

• If you’re trying to make a long-distance phone call, you’ll still dial 1 plus the area code and telephone number.

• The price of a call, or other rates, won’t change.

• You’ll still use three digits to reach 911 (emergency services) and 711 (relay services).

• If you’re in an office building, hotel or other place that uses a multi-line telephone system, you’ll still dial the prefix “9” before entering the area code plus telephone number.

The FCC recommends checking your website, business or personal stationary, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags and advertising materials to make sure the area code is included.

To view more information on the rule, visit fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline. For a full list of affected area codes, visit nationalnanpa.com.

To reach the Suicide Prevention Hotline, call 1-800-273-8255. The Colorado Crisis Services line is 1-844-493-TALK (8255) and The Center for Mental Health Crisis and Support Line can be reached at 970-252-6220.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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