UPDATE: SC Utility Consumer has an informative blog post with more information--you can review that at this link.
Recently, you may have received information from your telecommunications provider or heard a message when you dial a phone number introducing the concept of “ten digit dialing.” On April 25th, ten digit dialing in the 803 area code will go into effect for all calls, necessitating a minor but mandatory change to the way citizens of South Carolina make phone calls. Instead of dialing the seven digit number, you’ll have to add the area code before you dial—for example, where once you might have called the PSC by dialing 896-5100, you’ll now dial 803-896-5100. Since October of 2019, you may have been practicing this as you make calls; in April, it will become universally implemented.
Why is this happening? In May, a new area code will be introduced to the current 803 area; this new code will be 839 and will supplement the 803 area code. The counties affected are:
What is the impact on you? It will be minimal, outside of the ten-digit dialing requirement. If you currently have a phone number with an 803 area code, that will not change. The PSC also notes the following:
▪ Current telephone numbers, including the current area code, will not change. If a customer has an 803 area code, that area code will remain unchanged.
▪ The price of a call, coverage area or other rates and services will not change because of the new area code.
▪ Current local calls will remain a local call for billing purposes regardless of the number of digits dialed.
▪ 911 calls will remain unchanged.
▪ If services accessed by dialing 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available, they will remain unchanged.
Do note that all services, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are currently programmed to dial a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to match the new dialing procedures. Some examples are life safety systems, stored telephone numbers in contact lists in phones, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers and alarm and security systems.
For more information, contact Rob Bockman at the Public Service Commission at 803.896.5100 or email email@example.com.