Starting Oct. 24, anyone making a local call in Hawaii must include the 808 area code plus the telephone number in order for the call to go through.

According to a press release Thursday from Hawaiian Telcom, the change was prompted by the Federal Communications Commission’s adoption of an order approving “988” as the three-digit code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That began July 16.

Hawaii is among 36 states that use the 988 prefix and now have to transition to 10-digit dialing for local calls.

The FCC order requires all telecommunications carriers including Hawaiian Telcom, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers and one-way VoIP providers “to make any network changes necessary” to ensure that users can dial 988 to reach the lifeline.

“If you don’t dial 10 digits, you may hear a recording informing you that your call cannot be completed as dialed,” says the press release.

Safety and security equipment — e.g., medical alert and monitoring devices, alarms, security systems, gates — must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing by Oct. 24 to avoid interruption.

Other devices and services that may need to be re-programmed include:

  • private branch exchanges
  • fax machines
  • internet dial-up numbers
  • speed dialers
  • wireless phone contact lists
  • call forwarding settings
  • voicemail services and other similar functions

The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.

Callers can continue to dial 1 plus the area code plus the telephone number for all long-distance calls.

And emergency calls like 211 and 911 will still require only those three digits.

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