Ten-Digit Dialing for Local Calls in 856, 908 Area Codes Now Required

As of October 24, all New Jersey residents with telephone numbers in the 856 and 908 codes must dial 10 digits (or 1+ten-digit—area code plus number) for their local calls. These customers will make the change from seven digit local dialing. After this date, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform customers that their call cannot be completed as dialed.

This change only applies to homes and businesses using landlines within the 856 and 908 area codes since wireless customers are already required to use 10-digit dialing for calls within their area code.

This change will occur because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is adopting 988 as a new three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crises Lifeline, starting July 16, 2022. Due to the implementation of 988, ten-digit local dialing must also be implemented in New Jersey so that 988 works in the 908 or 856 area code.

The 856 area code is used by customers in parts of Camden and Burlington Counties. The 908 area code is used by customers in parts of Union, Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon, Warren and Morris Counties.

In addition to changing dialing procedures, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a seven-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedures. Some examples are life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, stored telephone numbers in contact lists in phones, PBXs, fax machines, ankle monitors, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm security systems and gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, etc.

Consumers should contact their medical alert or security provider if they do not know whether their equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the new dialing procedures. Consumers may also want to check their personal and business stationery, checks, advertising materials, websites, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in the telephone number.

Under this new dialing system, telephone numbers, including current area codes will not change. The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change either. What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed. Individuals can still dial just three digits to reach 911, as well as 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 and 811.

If there are any questions about this change, individuals may contact their local service provider, or they can also visit the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ website at nj.gov/bpu, or the FCC website at fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline for further information. n

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