Starting Sunday, Oct. 24, people in Wisconsin will have to dial local numbers using 10 digits — the area code and the seven-digit phone number.
Currently, people in Wisconsin can place a call to a number in the same area code without dialing the area code. That option will end Oct. 23.
This will affect both landlines and cellphones and all of Wisconsin's six area codes — 262, 414, 534, 608, 715 and 920 — as well as more than two dozen other states that have not already switched to 10-digit dialing.
The change is because the Federal Communications Commission is establishing 988 as the new nationwide phone number for suicide prevention and mental health help. Until the two-year transition is complete in July 2022, people in need of the hotline should continue to dial 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK).
AT&T and Verizon want practice start
AT&T and Verizon asked their customers to begin practicing 10-digit dialing starting April 24. Those who forget and dial just seven digits will still have their call completed for now.
Starting Oct. 24 "local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed," Verizon said in its release to customers.
Those who hear that recording must hang up and dial again using the area code.
People who've programmed seven-digit phone numbers into speed dial functions or cellphone contact lists will need to reprogram those as 10-digit numbers in order to make a phone call after that point.