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New 10-Digit 'Permissive' Dialing in Idaho Begins Saturday, Nov. 5


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Idaho is almost in the era of 10-digit dialing: On Saturday, Nov. 5, Idahoans can begin including the 208 area code when making local calls in what is being called a "permissive dialing period," a period of time in which adding the 208 is voluntary, so we can get used to 10-digit dialing before it becomes mandatory, starting August 2017

The transition is designed to accommodate a second area code in Idaho: 986. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission says with the increase in cell phone and Voice over Internet Protocol use, the availability of numbers with the 208 code are running out. The ]986 area code will be issued to new telephone numbers beginning next fall.

An educational campaign from telecommunication providers will accompany the "permissive" dialing period. When mandatory 10-digit dialing begins next August, any call—local or long-distance— without an area code will not be completed. Local calls on landline phones will also require dialing an area code, though will still not cost anything and, according to the PUC, the addition of a second area code will not impact rates.

Callers will still dial just three digits when calling 911, 211, 411 and 811.