Change will require telephone users to start dialing area code for all local calls

photo by: Journal-World photo

Douglas County residents and others in the area soon will have to push a few more buttons if they want complete a local telephone call.

The Kansas Corporation Commission has announced that local phone calls made in the 785 area code will require the users to dial the area code. Currently, a person with a Lawrence phone number who is calling another Lawrence phone number, for instance, does not have to dial the area code.

Beginning on Oct. 24, telephone users in the 785 area code — which includes much of the northern half of Kansas, including Lawrence and Topeka — will be required to use the area code to complete local calls. Callers in the 620 area code — which includes much of the southern half of the state — also will be required to use their area code when making local calls. Kansas’ other two area codes — the 913 area code in and around Kansas City and the 316 area code in and around Wichita — won’t be required to make the change.

The change is happening to accommodate a new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In 2022, people who need immediate assistance from a suicide prevention counselor will be able to call 988 to reach the suicide prevention lifeline.

However, for that new number to be established, any area code that uses a prefix of 988 must adopt 10-digit dialing. Otherwise, people who were dialing 988 as part of a local phone number would reach the hotline. Both the 785 and 620 area codes have communities that use 988 as a prefix for telephone numbers. The 913 and 316 area codes do not, which is why those area codes don’t have to adopt the new dialing standards.

Phone systems will be switched on April 24 so that the 10-digit process for local calls will be functioning. The KCC is urging callers to start using the 10-digit system at that time to build the habit. However, local calls that don’t use the 10-digit system will still go through until Oct. 24. At that point, the 10-digit system will be mandatory.

The new 988 suicide prevention line begins on July 16, 2022. Until then, callers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255.


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