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URGENT!  All local calls in Idaho will require 10 digit dialing starting August 5, 2017.  In September there will be a new area code of 986 that will “overlay” or be on top of the existing  208 area code.  These changes will affect every local call you make.  We have compiled information below that should help explain this change and some of the impacts to you and your organization.

This 10 digit dialing requirement will most likely require some programming changes to your telephone system, especially if you use speed dialing, voice mail outcalling, call forwarding, or other dialing features.  We urge you to make your appointment now with Business Phone Specialists to reprogram these items on your phone system, as they apply to your system and how you use it.  Call us at 208-523-0006 to get your appointment scheduled.  If you have a service, support, and maintenance plan this call is FREE.  If not, it will be billable at our normal time and material rates.  However, ask about how this could be FREE for you as well.

The video above might help explain some of the affects this change could have.

Please also note that if you have any devices that dial a local number, such as a fax machine, credit card reader, modem, heating system, alarm system, etc., they will probably need to be reprogrammed by the firm that sold it to you.  Be especially mindful of any life safety systems and address that right away. 

These changes can be done now and should be done well before August 5, 2017, as the phone companies are recognizing and allowing this new dialing sequence now.

Here is MORE INFORMATION to help you understand what this change might mean to you.

10 DIGIT DIALING

Right now most local calls require dialing just 7 digits, sometimes written out as XXX-XXXX.  10 Digit dialing means you will have to insert the area code for all local calls.  Written out it will look like XXX-XXX-XXXX.  If you dial 7 digits it will not go through after this is change is required, on August 5th 2017.  You can start dialing the 10 digits now.

WHO WILL BE AFFECTED

According to the Idaho Public Utilities website, everyone in Idaho will have to dial 10 digits for local calls.  This is from cell phones, home phones, office phones, etc.

NEW AREA CODE

Because the utility companies are running out of 208 area codes they will introduce the new 986 area code over the top of the existing 208 code.  This means that your new neighbor may have a phone number with a 986 area code while you have a 208 area code.   The area code for your existing numbers will not change.  Numbers with the new area code are scheduled to start being issued on Sept 5, 2017.

WHAT WILL STAY THE SAME?

Your number, local calling area regardless of which area code, costs for local calls, and how you dial 911, 411, etc. and how much you pay for your long distance calls should all remain the same.

WHAT ELSE TO CHECK

Any device that dials 7 digits will need to be changed including, but not limited to,  alarm systems, internet dial up, fax machines, life safety systems, gates, door phones, speed dialers, and phone system settings described above.  Be sure to update all your contacts in your cell phones, church directories, your dialing lists, etc.

NON-PHONE ITEMS TO CHECK

Be sure to have the correct area code on all your advertising items, business cards, websites, etc.  At home you might want to check pet tags, kids backpacks or personal items,  personal property which has engraved information such as valuables and electronics, anything that has your phone number on- be sure to add your area code.

For more information you can call Business Phone Specialists, Inc. at 208-523-0006 or you can visit the web site of the Idaho Public Utility Commission at www.puc.idaho.gov