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New 540 Area Code Changes Just Around The Corner for Virginia

Mandatory 10-digit dialing effective May 14, 2022

Starting May 14, 2022, Virginia residents in the (540) area code will be required to dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) when making local calls. A new area code overlay (826) is also being introduced to the (540) region.

An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code, but starting June 14, 2022, it will require new customers to be assigned the new (826) area code.

TDS Telecom (TDS®) is alerting its customers in northwestern and southwestern portions of Virginia about the upcoming changes. The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved the addition of a new (826) area code on June 17, 2020.

This new Area Code Overlay affects residents served by the (540) area code in the TDS communities of Hot Springs, New Castle, and Paint Bank. Some of the larger cities include Blacksburg, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Salem, and Winchester. The new (826) Numbering Plan Area (NPA) will serve the same geographic area now served by the existing (540) NPA. The change ensures availability of an ongoing supply of telephone numbers in Virginia.

When two area codes serve the same region, the Federal Communications Commission requires callers to begin 10-digit dialing.

Important information for residents and businesses:

  • Existing phone numbers in the (540) area code will not change.
  • The price for calls, local and long-distance calling areas, and other rates and services provided by TDS will not change due to the new Area Code Overlay. A local call now remains a local call, regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • The dialing procedure for long distance or operator assisted calls will not change.
  • 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.

Dates to keep in mind:

Beginning May 14, 2022, customers must use the new dialing procedures, as described above for all calls. After this date, 7-digit calls will not be completed, and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.

Beginning June 14, 2022, any new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new (826) area code.

In addition to changing dialing procedures, customers are encouraged to begin reprogramming automatic dialing equipment and other devices now programmed with seven digits. Residents and businesses should check with security or alarm companies to make sure their systems are programmed to handle the new dialing pattern.

Products to consider include: life safety systems, VoIP and Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, electronic telephone sets, auto-dial systems, multi-line key systems, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, and voicemail services. All such devices will need to be reprogrammed with 10-digits by May 14, 2022.

Residents and businesses should also check their business stationery or advertising materials to ensure the area code is included.

For additional information, please visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission at https://www.scc.virginia.gov or contact TDS 1-888-CALL-TDS or visit www.tdstelecom.com.

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