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Area Code Required for Local Calls Starting October 24, 2021

Starting Sunday, October 24, 2021, it will be necessary to use the area code when making a local telephone call throughout New York State and thirty-five other states and territories. Members of the Cornell community and other New York State residents who live in the 607 and other affected areas should check their contacts and speed dials to make sure stored local numbers include the area code. (Many large cities in New York State, like New York City and Rochester, already require a ten-digit number when calling locally.)

This change is happening to accommodate a new nationwide three-digit telephone number, 988, created to contact the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Because the affected states have local exchanges that use 988, the area code requirement is being turned on to ensure the phone system distinguishes between calls to a 988 local exchange and calls to the Lifeline. Dialing 988 on a cell phone has worked to call the Lifeline since July, and will become effective for landline phones in July 2022. The 800 number for the Lifeline works for all phones now: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Five-digit dialing on campus will continue to work. Some service providers may attempt to fill in an area code when none is supplied, but since the implementation is difficult to predict, it's suggested individuals should be in the habit of dialing the area code themselves.

When dialing a ten-digit (area code plus number) local call, the initial 1 will be necessary for landlines but not cell phones. Some phones, like iPhones, have a setting to automatically include the 1 for ten-digit numbers, which is on by default. 

For details and to see a list of all states where area codes are becoming required for local calls, visit Verizon’s Mandatory 10-Digit Dialing Becomes Effective on October 24, 2021 for Multiple States.

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