The Illinois Commerce Commission this week reminded residential and business customers that, beginning Saturday, Feb. 27, mandatory dialing will occur where all local calls made within the Illinois 217 area code will have to be placed using the 10-digit telephone number (area code + the seven-digit telephone number).
That day, the 447 area code will be added as an overlay to the region currently served by area code 217 to ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers for the area. An overlay is the addition of another area code (447) to the same geographic region served by an existing area code (217).
The ICC ordered an area code overlay for the 217 area code on Aug. 15, 2006, to be implemented upon the exhaust of available, unassigned 217 prefixes. An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code or telephone number.
Beginning March 27, 2021, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 447 area code.
The most important facts for consumers to know about the upcoming 217/447 area code overlay are:
Your current telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
If you seek new phone service after March 27, 2021, you may be assigned a phone number with the 447 area code.
You will need to dial area code + telephone number for all local calls.
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 (Area Code + 7-digit telephone 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 recognize the new 447 area code as a valid area code. Examples include life-safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, 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 should be completed by February 27, 2021.
Remember that all local calls must be programmed using 10-digits and you need to add ‘1’ for all long distance calls.
For additional information, please visit the ICC website at www.icc.illinois.gov/ or contact your local telephone service provider.