Mandatory 10-digit dialing to begin on October 9, 2021 in the Washington, DC 202 area code

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BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - All customers with the Washington, DC 202 area code should prepare for the start of mandatory 10-digit dialing and the introduction of the new 771 area code.

The 771 area code will be added as an overlay to the 202 region. An overlay is the addition of another area code (771) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (202). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code, but does require customers to dial the area code to complete local calls.

Beginning October 9, 2021, all local calls made within the DC 202 area code must be placed using 10 digits (area code + the 7-digit telephone number). On and after this date, calls placed using just 7 digits will not be completed.

Beginning November 9, 2021, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 771 area code.

The key facts for consumers to know about the upcoming DC 202/771 area code overlay are:

  • Your current telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • If you seek new phone service on and after November 9, 2021, you may be assigned a phone number with the 771 area code.
  • You will need to dial area code + telephone number for all local calls, including calls within the same area code.
  • You 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.
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911. You can also dial three digits to reach 211, 311, 511, 711, and 811, where available.

Please remember to identify your telephone number as a 10-digit number and include the area code when giving the number to friends, family, business associates and customers, etc.

Customers should ensure all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits if they are programmed to dial just 7 digits, and recognize the new 771 area code as a valid area code. Examples 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. Be sure to check your business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and your 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. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use 7 digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing. Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be completed before October 9, 2021.

Remember that all local calls must be programmed using 10 digits, and add ‘1’ for all long distance calls.

For additional information, please visit us at or the District of Columbia website at

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