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Making a local call? Starting Sunday, you'll need to use the area code

Original post made on Oct 24, 2021

Starting on Sunday, Oct. 24, all phone calls on the Peninsula-- even local ones -- will require the three-digit area code, the FCC announced.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, October 23, 2021, 3:54 PM

Comments (12)

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2021 at 5:39 am

felix is a registered user.

This is the 3rd article I’ve read about this and none coherently explain why a new 988 suicide prevention hotline means we must now dial 650 or 1-650 before even making local calls.
And 1 day notice of this change? C’mon.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2021 at 6:48 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

If you can't figure out "why" you have to dial an area code, it has nothing to do with the article and everything to do with your own reading comprehension. It's very easy to understand.

Posted by Janice Selznick
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2021 at 7:03 am

Janice Selznick is a registered user.

No problem!

Good thing there’s not a shortage of digits, that is, we’re fortunate that the now-necessary extra digits aren’t all waiting to be off-loaded at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 24, 2021 at 12:23 pm

Chris is a registered user.


988 is an exchange in the 650 area code.

Posted by
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2021 at 3:55 pm is a registered user.

In the link above in the article: "Reason behind the change".

There are 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory that currently use "988" as their local exchange and allow seven-digit dialing. A local exchange, also known as a central office code, is the first three numbers of a seven-digit telephone number. To prepare for implementation of a quick way to dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – using only "988" to connect callers to the Lifeline – these area codes must transition to ten-digit dialing for all calls, including local calls.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2021 at 4:10 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Rest assured 650 area codes will continue connect one to the local housing crisis. Sans affordable homes and still lot’s of discriminatory, historic “redlining” R1 zones.

Posted by
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2021 at 4:11 pm is a registered user.

Why not just make the Suicide Hotline number to be FOUR numbers instead of inconveniencing us? 1234? That's easy to remember. Wokeism.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 25, 2021 at 12:18 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

@ It
Traditional phones don't have any way to indicate that dialing is complete, so any valid number cannot contain another valid number as its initial digits. This issue is related to the data compression technique called Huffman coding -- check it out!

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2021 at 11:01 am

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Isn't this additional complexity for millions of people going to increase the suicide rate? Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction when it comes to government. Irony comes to mind.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 25, 2021 at 11:33 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Ok. I'm confused. Using my Verizon cell, I successfully connected to my partner downstairs without the 650 or a 1 but I've failed to reach a friend in 650 even after dialing with and without the area code and with and without a leading 1. When calling her landline, it just keeps ringing and her answering machine doesn't pick up as usual.

Please advise.

Posted by valorie25
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2021 at 1:23 pm

valorie25 is a registered user.

Wow! Jennifer is being rather snotty with Felix. I, too, read the article several times and am still somewhat confused. The article says October 24 is the beginning and today is the 25th. First I've heard of it. Is today April Fool's Day??

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 27, 2021 at 6:43 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

In recent decades, the nuisance of having to dial 10 digits even for local calls in the US typically resulted from area-code "overlays," multiple area codes in the same place (e.g., 669 added to 408 in southern Santa Clara County). In principle, it's even possible to add such an overlapping area code without demanding 10-digit dialing, if the new code uses non-conflicting prefixes and the telco software has the necessary information to parse 7-digit numbers. It's cheaper, though, to make the public do the work, dialing extra digits so the service providers have less to sort out.

This new change is a variation of that standard situation: the new 3-digit dialing feature (988) coming next year conflicts with an existing local prefix here. In principle, a simple solution is to require dialing the area code, for local calls, only with the 988 prefix. In practice, that might confuse some people and besides -- once again -- it's easier just to dump the burden on customers and make them dial more digits, even though fundamentally almost all local calling numbers are resolvable without them.

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