Washington, DC, has a new 771 area code
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Washington, DC, has a new 771 area code

Washington, DC, residents could get some new digits starting Tuesday, as the area’s 771 area code will begin to be assigned to phones and services in the district, according to the District of Columbia Public Service Commission.

The additional area code will be doled out in an effort to address projections showing that phone numbers with the 202 area code, which was established for the district and neighboring federal offices in 1947, would run out during the third quarter of 2022. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator assigned the new area code to the region.

According to the public service commission, current telephone numbers (with their current area code) will not change, but those looking to get new numbers on or after Tuesday may be assigned the 771 area code. What was previously considered a local call will remain a local call, the commission said, but as part of the change, DC residents will have to transition to 10-digit dialing.

Ten-digit dialing requires entering the three-digit area code and seven-digit phone number when placing a call — even when calling within the same area code. Calls made using only seven digits will not be completed.

Ten-digit dialing was implemented in late October for callers in parts of 35 states and Guam to accommodate the newly established “988” three-digit dial number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The Federal Communications Commission last year established 988 as an easy-to-remember number for people seeking help to quickly dial and be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The 988 dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16.

In preparation for the change in DC, the public service commission recommended that customers “ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits if they are currently programmed to dial just 7 digits.”

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