"988" Routing Deadline Approaching

July 16, 2022 is the deadline for telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, and one-way VoIP providers to make network changes to ensure that users can dial and/or text the dialing code “988” to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Covered providers are required to route 988 calls and texts directly to 1-800-273-8255, the number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For areas of the country that use both 7-digit dialing and 988 as an NXX prefix, implementation of the 988 universal dialing code will require adopting a 10-digit dialing system. The North American Numbering Plan Administrator has developed an implementation schedule to allow covered providers to meet the transition deadline.

This is a single, uniform implementation deadline that the FCC says will allow sufficient time for covered providers to route 988 calls and texts to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Any provider that cannot meet the July 16, 2022 deadline should seek a waiver. The FCC has cautioned, however, that waivers will only be granted if particular facts make strict compliance with the deadline inconsistent with the public interest.

For more information about the Commission’s 988 rules or implementation, please contact an attorney in our Broadband, Spectrum, and Communications Infrastructure Practice Group.