Transition to 10-digit dialing announced

CONCORD – New Hampshire residents may have recently heard that how they place calls to their family and friends will be changing.

Instead of dialing seven digits to make a phone call to anywhere in the state, residents will soon have to dial 10 digits.

Last summer, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the three-digit number to use when calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This three-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline goes into effect in July 2022.

There are two reasons as to why. N.H. residents calling from a landline currently dial seven digits to make a phone call to anywhere in the state; and residents and businesses in Portsmouth have telephone numbers beginning with 988.

“Today, if I called a friend who lives in Portsmouth from my landline telephone, I would dial 988-1234,” Director of the Commission’s Consumer Services and External Affairs Divisione Amanda Noonan explained. “Once 988 goes into use for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, dialing 988-1234 to talk to my friend may direct my call instead to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, taking up resources needed for those in crisis.”

To ensure that those in crisis are able to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the FCC ordered New Hampshire and several other states to transition to 10-digit dialing – the area code + the seven-digit telephone number.

“It’s important for customers to know,” Noonan said, “that this change in how we dial has no impact on whether a call is local or long distance.”

To ease the transition, telephone companies in the state are notifying customers of the upcoming change this month, asking them to start dialing 10-digits now. If customers forget, the calls will still go through – at least until October 24, 2021. After October 24, customers will have to dial 10-digits in order for their calls to go through properly.