NEW ORLEANS, La. — Later this year, telephone customers in Acadiana and the New Orleans area will implement mandatory 10-digit dialing, along with 80 other area codes nationwide, according to a planning letter from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA).
The change comes after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an order last July approving the designation of 988 as the three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline, similar to 911 and 311.
The order requires 82 area codes that currently permit seven-digit dialing and also use 988 as a telephone prefix to begin using 10-digit dialing at a local level. In Louisiana, area codes 337 and 504 will be affected, while other cities will be able to continue using 7-digit dialing.
A six-month "permissive dialing period" begins on April 24, during which customers start practicing dialing 10 digits and reprogram CPE as needed (CPE being any telephone apparatus, including handsets, key and hybrid telephone systems, etc. that is located on a company's property).
Then, a "mandatory dialing enforcement period" begins on October 24, during which carriers can start enforcing mandatory 10-digit dialing. That eight-and-a-half month period ends on July 15, 2022, with the transition being fully complete on July 16, 2022.
Eventually, all calls to 988 will route to the suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, but areas that use the 988 prefix, like the Acadiana and New Orleans areas, must transition to 10-digit dialing to help "ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline," The Advocate reports.
According to the FCC, Congress and the Commission both recognized the need to have easy access to the suicide prevention hotline by using a shorter, "easy-to-remember, 3-dialing code."
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