On Sept. 9, 2019, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) filed notice with the Virginia State Corporation Commission that the 540-area code was on track to exhaust all available numbers during the second quarter of 2022.
Accordingly, all residents in the 540 area code in Virginia will be required to dial 10 digits (area code + phone number) for all local calls starting May 14, 2022. A new area code is also being introduced. The 826 area code will be added as an overlay to the 540 region.
An overlay is the addition of another area code (826) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (540). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code, but will require new customers to be assigned the new area code.
TDS Telecom (TDS®) is alerting its customers in the area about the upcoming changes.
To give consumers adequate time to adjust to the dialing changes, residents can start dialing with 10 digits starting Nov. 13, 2021, During this period, local calls can be made with either 7 or 10 digits, and all calls that are local will continue to be local even though you dial 10 digits.
Beginning May 14, 2022, mandatory 10-digit dialing will begin. All local calls made within the Virginia 540 area code must be placed using 10 digits (area code + the 7-digit telephone number).
Beginning June 14, 2022, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 826 area code.
The key facts for consumers to know about the upcoming Virginia 540/826 area code overlay are:
- Your current telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
- If you seek new phone service on and after June 14, 2022, you may be assigned a phone number with the 826-area code.
- You will need to dial the 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 and 811, as well as 311 and 511, 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.
Customers should ensure all automatic dialing equipment are reprogrammed to dial 10 digits and recognize the new 826 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 done between Nov. 13, 2021 and May 14, 2022.
Remember that all local calls must be programmed using 10-digits and add ‘1’ for all long-distance calls.
For additional information, please visit the Virginia SCC at https://www.scc.virginia.gov or contact your local telephone service provider.