New phone dialing requirements for our area

A few days ago, one of our neighbors made phone calls to local numbers only to be greeted with a “fast busy” – that is, a busy signal that “beeps”  much faster than a normal busy signal.  A fast busy usually indicates a problem with the call – line outage or other problem. Officially known as a “reorder tone,” this is what the fast busy sounds like:

Concerned because he knew the calls should go through, our neighbor redialed the numbers using 10-digit dialing – that is 1-804-XXX-XXXX – and the calls went through without a problem.

It appears that telephone calls made from landline phones in our neighborhood (and likely all of Area Code 804)– and possibly your cell phone — now require you to dial all 10 digits of the number you are calling — that is, if you are calling 580-XXXX, you now must dial 1-804-580-XXXX.  This may be the case throughout the 804 area code.

 There are two reasons for this change:

  1. The coming nationwide introduction (in July) of 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), and,
  2. The shrinking availability of phone numbers in area codes nationwide.  While our 804 area code is in better shape than many area codes, some of the telephone carriers that serve our area decided to go with 10-digit dialing now rather than wait until they run out of numbers.

It may be that your carrier – or the exchange you are calling – does not yet require 10-digit dialing.  In any case, if you call a number in our area and get a fast busy, try the call again using all 10 digits – that is  1 + Area Code + Exchange and number.

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