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April 21st, 2021

Effective October 24, 2021, callers in Vermont, and most other states, must use the area code in making any call. This means, that you will need to dial 802 for all calls in Vermont, even for local ones. This is part of an upgrade to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline starting July 16, 2022.  To facilitate implementation, area codes across the country, including Vermont, where 988 is a working prefix must transition 10-digit local dialing.  Once complete, 988 will operate in the same manner as 911 (Emergency Services) and 211 (Community Help Services).

The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to this dialing change. However,  all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit number (see below for more information).

What will be the new dialing procedure?
To complete all local calls, you will now need to dial 802 + telephone number or 1 + 802 + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with seven digits.

When will the dialing change begin?
Beginning April 24, 2021, you should begin dialing the 802 + telephone number for all local calls, including calls within the same area code. If you forget and dial just 7 digits, your call will still be completed.

Beginning October 24, 2021, you must dial the 802 + telephone number (or 1 + 802 + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7 digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get this recording, you must hang up and dial again using the 802 area code and the 7-digit number.

Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

What will you need to do?
In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit (or 1+10-digit) numbers, including the area code. Some examples are: life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm systems, other security systems or gates, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and other similar functions. Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.

What will remain the same?

  • Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to this dialing change.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long distance calls.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911 (emergency services) and 711 (relay services), as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 where those services are available in your community.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Will you be able to dial 988 without a prefix from a multi-line telephone system?
No, you still will need to dial a prefix first when dialing 988 from a multi-line telephone system, where a prefix is required (for example, dialing 9 first from a hotel or office building multi-line telephone system).

Can you still dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline?
Yes, you can dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the Lifeline now (wireless customers can dial 988 now too). Starting July 16, 2022, everyone can dial either 988 or 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline.

Who may you contact with questions?
For more information, please contact our Customer Service Department or click the Chat with us button at the bottom right corner of this page, or visit the FCC website at fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.