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This story is a staff report from The Paper.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State utility regulators say New Mexico in late April will start a six-month transition period to prepare telephone callers for when they’ll have to include an area code when making local calls.


Starting April 24, callers can start using 10-digit dialing for telephone calls within the state. That will begin the permissive transition period leading up to Oct. 24 when 10-digit dialing will become mandatory, the Public Regulation Commission said Tuesday.


The switch to 10-digit dialing is a result of the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to implement a new three-digit number — 9-8-8 — for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the PRC said in a statement.


The hotline’s new three-digit number will make 10-digit dialing mandatory for all local calls in New Mexico’s 505 and 575 area codes because some customers’ phone numbers start with a 988 prefix.


The commission said the new dialing requirement won’t require that phone numbers be changed or affect the price of calls.


However, the commission said automatic dialing equipment such as fax machines, alarm systems and Internet dial-up numbers will need to be be reprogramed to call 10-digit numbers.

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