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Most Mid-Michigan residents will soon be required to dial a few extra digits when making local phone calls.

Anyone whose area code is 810, 989, 616, or 906 will need to dial the entire 10-digit phone number -- even when dialing numbers within their area code -- beginning April 24th.

The Michigan Public Service Commission made the announcement earlier today. The change accommodates system requirements necessary to implement a new three-digit suicide prevention hotline in 2022. That number will be 988 and will become active in July of next year.

According to a release from the MPSC, the 988 sequence of numbers is currently in use in some areas of Michigan as a working prefix.

Because 988 is assigned to some customers in an area code as a working prefix, the FCC requires all providers to make 10-digit dialing mandatory for all local calls in the entire four affected Michigan area codes, 616, 810, 906, and 989.

According to ABC-12, a grace period will be in effect until October 24th. Anyone who forgets to dial the area code before then will still be connected. After that, callers will receive an automated message stating that their call can't be connected.

Ryan McAnany, acting director of the Michigan Public Service Commission's Telecommunications Division says the grace period will give customers an opportunity to get used to dialing all 10 digits.

“The schedule laid out by the FCC gives customers in the four affected area codes several months to adjust to the new requirement of dialing 10 digits,” McAnany said. “A smooth transition will help ensure customers stay connected while getting ready for the ultimate enactment of 988 as an easy number for people struggling or contemplating suicide to connect to resources and help in a crisis.”

We can do this. Maybe you remember when Flint's area code switched from 313 to 810? This should be an easier transition.

We suggest programming the phone numbers in your cellphone's contact list now, in order to avoid having to do it later.

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