The D.C. region is nearly out of phone numbers in the 202 area code, but help is on the way in the form of a new area code: 771.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator assigned the new code to the metropolitan region after it was determined the 202 area code, in use since 1947, would be exhausted by the third quarter of 2022, according to the D.C. Public Service Commission.

The 13-month implementation period culminates on Oct. 9, when the area code will be required to dial local phone numbers. New numbers in the region may be assigned with the 771 code beginning a month later.

“The 202 area code has been part of D.C. culture for over 50 years and it is not going away,” said PSC Chair Willie Phillips. “However, we stand ready to assist in a smooth transition to the added 771 area code.”

Important info:

– Customers’ current telephone numbers, including the current area code, will not change.
– Customers who plan to get a new phone number on and after Nov. 9 may be assigned a phone number with the 771 area code.
– Customers will need to start dialing the area code + telephone number for all local calls, including calls within the same area code.
– Customers will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.
– What is a local call now will remain a local call.
– The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.

In addition, customers should ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software or other types of equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits if they are currently programmed to dial just seven digits, the commission says.

Examples of these types of systems include life-safety systems, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, gates, ankle monitors, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services and similar functions.

Customers should also be sure to check their business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in your telephone number.

Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing, and any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done by Oct. 9.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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