Ten-digit local dialing coming to Western Washington
TDS Telecom customers in the 360 area code will be impacted; need to prepare for area code overlay.
Beginning January 28, 2017, residents and businesses in Western Washington should start dialing ten digits — area code + telephone number — when making local calls. Customers in the following area codes will be impacted: 360, 206, 253 and 425.
TDS Telecom (TDS®) is alerting all business and residential customers and letting them know about the upcoming change. According to TDS, the areas they serve around Amboy, Cougar, La Center, Mossyrock, Onalaska, Salkum, and Yale will be impacted.
Known as an “Area Code Overlay,” the addition of the new area code — 564 — was approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. The overlay ensures an ongoing supply of telephone numbers throughout the area. Beginning on July 29, 2017, everyone with a 360, 206, 253 and 425 area code will be required to dial ten digits (area code + telephone number).
An Area Code Overlay is when two area codes serve the same region. In these instances, the Federal Communications Commission requires callers to change the way they dial local calls. While customers do not have to change their existing area code or phone number, they will be required to ten-digit dial all local calls (area code and seven-digit telephone number).
What residents and businesses need to know about the area code overlay:
- Existing phone numbers with 360, 206, 253 and 425 area codes will not change.
- The price for calls, local and long-distance calling areas, and other rates and services provided by TDS will not change due to the new Area Code Overlay. What’s a local call now remains a local call, regardless of the number of digits dialed.
- The dialing procedure for long distance or operator assisted calls will not change.
- 911 remains a three-digit dial. If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 and 811 are available currently, they will remain a three-digit dial.
Dates to keep in mind:
- January 28, 2017: “Permissive” ten-digit dialing period begins; callers should begin using the new 10-digit dialing procedure. If callers forget to use the area code and dial only the seven-digit number, calls will still be completed during this permissive phase.
- July 29, 2017: “Mandatory” ten-digit local dialing begins. Customers in the 360, 206, 253 and 425 area codes must use ten-digit dialing for all local calls, otherwise, calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct callers to hang up and dial again.
- August 28, 2017: Phone numbers with the new 564 area code may begin to be assigned.
In addition to changing dialing procedures, customers are encouraged to begin reprogramming automatic dialing equipment and other devices programmed with seven digits. This includes life-alert safety systems, PBX systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, and voicemail services. All such devices will need to be reprogrammed with ten-digits (area code + telephone number) by July 29, 2017.
Residents and businesses should also check with security or alarm companies to make sure their systems are programmed to handle the new dialing pattern.
For more information, visit the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission or contact TDS at 888-CALL-TDS (888-225-5837).