According to the FCC, all phone calls in Alaska — and many other states — must now use a full 10 digits to be connected. The reason for this change is to allow callers to reach the National Suicide and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline by simply dialing 988. Hooray for those who might need to reach the crisis lifeline.
However, the price the rest of us must pay is a little more time dialing 10 digits instead of seven. Not a big price to pay, you say? If so, then consider the collective time spent dialing all those area codes for the millions of phone calls made each day throughout the country.
As an alternative, how about assigning some number other than 988 to the crisis lifeline? That way, then Alaska and the rest of the country can continue to make calls using seven digits. And, yes, in the grand scheme of things, this resides pretty low on the annoyance scale. But it does seem like there is a much simpler fix than asking everyone to dial 10 digits just to make it easy for much fewer crisis line callers to dial three digits.
— Mike Jens
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