Sorry Whidbey, you’re not rural enough to escape the ubiquitous urban rite of 10-digit dialing.
As of Saturday, all local calls within the four existing area codes of western Washington, 206, 253, 360, and 425, require callers to dial an area code and seven-digit phone number, according to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission.
Those calls will remain local even though you’ll have to dial 10 digits. The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change, according to the commission’s website.
If consumers dial only seven digits, the call will not be completed and the caller will hear an announcement instructing them to redial including the area code.
Emergency calls remain 911 as do the informational numbers, 211, 311, 511 and 811, where available.
So make sure to allow some time to reprogram all those phone numbers in all your devices with three more digits, as well as updating safety and security equipment such as alarm systems and medical alert devices with the necessary area codes.
The change is being made to accommodate a new area code for Western Washington, 564, which will begin to be assigned to new telephone lines or services beginning Aug. 28.