13 March 2021

Dialing 10 digits to make a local phone call

A new requirement that apparently extends beyond Wisconsin:
All Wisconsin residents will have to dial 10 digits to make local calls starting in October as part of a move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Residents are encouraged to begin getting used to dialing 10 digits ahead of time, but local calls will still go through with seven digits up until the October cutoff.

More than 80 area codes in 30-plus states will be affected, including four of Wisconsin’s six area codes: 262, 414, 608 and 920.  The 715 and 534 codes already use 10-digit dialing for local calls.

The change is a result of an FCC order creating a three-digit dialing code to be used to reach the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline, known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. All telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers and one-way VoIP providers are required to make any necessary network changes by July 16, 2022 so that 988 can be dialed to reach the existing hotline (1-800-273-8255).


  1. Most of the metropolitan and nearby areas of the country have had to use 10-digit phone numbers for some time now. We live in a rural area at least an hour's drive to any 'metro' area, and we've had to use 10 digits for many years.

  2. We've had 10-digit dialing in my part of Georgia for some time now. You get used to it.

  3. We have had 10 digit dialing for probably 2 decades at least here in Central Maryland. Sometimes we also need to dial "1" before dialing the 10 numbers, even for locations that are as close as 15 miles away. As Janice in GA says, you get used to it. Actually, with cellphones and the programable phones we use on the landlines, we seldom have to dial any number.

  4. I live in the Orlando, FL area and we've had to do this since at least 1999.

  5. Here in the backwater country of New Zealand (at least I guess so, from your eyes) we have had 10 digit numbers since 1995, maybe earlier, but that's when I got mine.
    Progress marches on, but sometimes it takes slow steps too ... in my smallish provincial town, some of the street numbers were all over the place, 6 following nine, a'la Jimi Hendrix, ... with the result emergency services would sometimes rock up to the wrong house or take a long time searching.
    Finally fixed 4 years ago (and moved my house from 45 to 28 instantly) all is now good and right.
    It is important to show proper respect for numbers.
    Treat them right.

  6. Also had 10 digit dialing in Mass for sometime. Actually I kinda like it. There are several area codes around here and this removes any ambiguity as to if you need the area code or not.

  7. I remember when in Poughkeepsie, NY they changed our area code from 914 to 845. What a mess that was.

  8. "Local call" — I haven't heard that phrase in years!


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