It’s National Area Code Day!
Dialing a phone number without an area code is now a thing of the past as of October 24, 2021 for some Michiganders. Anyone using a 906, 989, 616 or 810 area code must now dial the full 10-digit number even when making a local phone call. This change comes as a result of the new three-digit National Suicide Prevention Hotline slated to begin in July of 2022. People across the nation will be able to dial “988” starting next summer to reach the 24/7, free and confidential hotline. For now, the hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
The four area codes affected include northeast lower Michigan, the entire Upper Peninsula, Grand Rapids, Flint, Saginaw and Port Huron areas. Callers in other area codes may continue to dial seven digits for local calls because those area codes do not have active phone numbers that start with 988.
“A smooth transition will help ensure customers stay connected while getting ready for the ultimate enactment of 988 as an easy number for people struggling or contemplating suicide to connect to resources and help in a crisis,” said Ryan McAnany, acting director of the Michigan Public Service Commission’s Telecommunications Division in a news release.
This change does not impact the cost of calls. A local call is still considered a local call regardless of how many digits are dialed according to the MPSC.
All residents in the select area codes should check medical alert devices, security systems, fax machines and speed dial lists to ensure that the area code is included in order to reach the call destination successfully. In addition, websites, stationary and advertising should be updated to include these area codes.
History of National Area Code Day
Area Code Day acknowledges the creation and the significance of area codes which define a unique sequence of numbers that are dialed before making a call. Area codes originated from the labs of AT&T and Bell in 1940. In 1947, area codes helped to overcome the shortage of phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada through the North American Numbering Plan (NANP). Area codes assigned for more populous states started and ended with a lower number. When rotary phones were used to make calls, more densely populated areas including Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles were assigned simpler three-digit codes that involved less manual rotation for dialing each numerical digit. The NANP consisted of 25 different regions including North America and the Caribbean (with the exception of Mexico). AT&T managed the American Numbering Plan until the administration was handed to the American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) service, led by the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S.
Click here to download the FAQ sheet from the MPSC.