A phone keypad
Creative Commons photo by Mangpages

Beginning later this year, Alaskans will need to dial the area code when making phone calls within the state.

Recently, some telecommunication companies, including Matanuska Telephone Association, notified users that seven-digit dialing will soon be a thing of the past. 

The reason for this change, according to a notice from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, is a new federal act that will designate 9-8-8 as an abbreviated number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

To avoid potentially having to change any phone numbers, regions that have 9-8-8 as an active prefix will have to dial the area code to make phone calls.  That includes Alaska’s 9-0-7 area code.

The changes begin to take effect on April 24, but seven-digit dialing will still work until October.

In addition to phone calls, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska says other devices may need to be updated, including medical monitors, fire or burglar alarms, voicemail and call forwarding services, and speed dialers.

9-8-8 becomes the abbreviated number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline next summer.  Until then, the line can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

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