Not already dialing ten digits? You'd better start now!

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If you're not already dialing ten digits to make a phone call in the 317 area code, you're advised to start now.

The State of Indiana is reminding residents that local calls made with either seven or ten digits will continue to work from now through Sept. 16, 2016, to give people in the 317 area enough time to adjust to the new dialing pattern and to make any required system changes before ten-digit dialing becomes mandatory for local calls.

The six-month grace period giving consumers time to adjust started in March and will reach its midpoint this week.

More from the IURC:

The change to ten-digit dialing is necessary so the new 463 area code can be added to the region this fall. The new area code will "overlay" the entire 317 region. The "overlay" method has been used for all new area code additions in the United States since 2008, including the 812/930 overlay implemented in Southern Indiana last year. With the overlay, consumers are not required to change their existing phone numbers.

The 317/463 overlay is being implemented in response to projections that all numbering supplies for 317 will be exhausted by the end of this year. To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 463 area code will be superimposed over the entire 317 region, which includes Indianapolis and most of its suburbs.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved the 317/463 overlay in 2015 following a nine-month case that included a lengthy public comment period and five public field hearings throughout the Indianapolis metropolitan area. The telecommunications industry and the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) filed testimony supporting the overlay method.

Unless they have already done so, all consumers in the 317 area are urged to:

Include the 317 area code together with their seven-digit local numbers when providing them to others.

Ensure that all services, automatic-dialing equipment, applications, software, and other types of personal and business equipment recognize 463 as a valid area code.

Make sure that all preprogrammed numbers for local calls are set to include the area code. Examples include life safety systems, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.

Check any business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and personal or pet ID tags and microchips to ensure that the phone number includes the 317 area code.

Contact their telephone service providers immediately if encountering any difficulties completing ten-digit local calls.

Any safety and security equipment, including medical alert devices and alarm systems, must be programmed for mandatory 10-digit local dialing unless the calls are already directed to toll-free or long-distance telephone numbers. If you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed, contact your medical alert or security provider immediately so that all necessary reprogramming can be completed before Sept. 17, 2016. To avoid last-minute issues, consumers are strongly encouraged to address any needed changes as soon as possible.

After 10-digit dialing becomes mandatory in mid-September:

Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.

You will need to dial area code + telephone number (a total of 10 digits) for all local calls in the 317 area.

You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number (a total of 11 digits) for all long-distance calls.

Calls that are local now will still be local. The overlay will not change your rates or local coverage area.

You can still dial three digits to reach 911, along with other universal three-digit numbers (211, 411, 711, and 811). 

Learn more here

Timeframe

Effective now, you should be using 10 digits whenever you place a local call from the 317 area code (dialing 317 followed by the number’s remaining digits). If you forget and dial just 7 digits (through Sept. 16, 2016), your call will still be completed.

Starting on Sept. 17, 2016, 10-digit dialing will be mandatory for all local phone calls in the 317 area code. After this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedures, your call will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and retry the call with all 10 digits.

Beginning Oct. 17, 2016, numbers assigned for new telephone lines or services in the 317 region may include the new 463 area code.