New 826 Area Code Overlay
An overlay is an addition of another area code (826) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (540). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code or telephone number but does require using a new dialing procedure to complete calls.
540 Area Codes Affected
Anyone with a 540 area code telephone number will be affected. The 540 area code serves the northwestern and southwestern portions of Virginia. The new 826 area code will be superimposed over the entire geographic area currently served by the existing 540 area code.
How 540 Area Codes are Affected by 826
To complete calls from a landline phone the new dialing procedure requires anyone with a 540 or 826 area code to dial 1 + area code + telephone number. This means that all local calls in the 540 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed with eleven digits using the new 1 + area code + telephone number procedure.
To complete calls from a cellular or mobile phone, callers may dial area code + telephone number or 1 + area code + telephone number whenever placing a call from a phone number with the 540 or 826 area code.
Key Dates for 826 Rolling Out
Effective November 13, 2021, if you have a 540 area code, you should begin dialing the area code + telephone number whenever you place a call. If you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed.
Beginning May 14, 2022, if you have a 540 area code, you must dial the area code + telephone number on all calls, including calls within the same area code. On and after this date, if you do not dial the area code + telephone number, your calls will not complete and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again, including the area code.
Beginning June 14, 2022, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers with the new 826 area code. If you have an 826 area code, you must dial the area code + telephone number or the call will not complete.
How to Prepare for 826 Area Code
Update your automated services. In addition to changing your dialing procedure, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial 7 digits will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedure. Some examples are life safety systems and medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, stored telephone numbers in contacts lists on wireless or cordless phones, and other similar services or equipment.
You may also want to check your personal and business stationery, checks, advertising materials, websites, contact information, and personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included in the telephone number.
What Will Remain the Same with 540 Area Codes
- Your telephone number, including the current area code, will not change.
- The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
- What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
- You can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
- If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, you will still dial these codes with just three digits.
Who can you contact with questions?
If you have any questions regarding the information provided in this notice, please call our support team at 1-800-980-9750 or go to the Virginia State Corporation Commission's website for more information.
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