At your next convenience, here's a chore to take care of that will save you headaches later. Add 605 to all the South Dakota numbers in your smartphone and programmable landlines. You might say this is our welcome to the big 605. We recently heard that South Dakota will be adding a couple of thumb taps to your phone calls before you get your call to go through. According to a press release from sd.gov:

Beginning on April 24, South Dakotans are encouraged to start using 10-digit dialing (605 area code + phone number) to make all local phone calls.

I know what you're probably thinking. I do most of the time already, especially if you do the bulk of your calling on a cell phone. Most of the time, if you try a 'long distance' call on your cell phone, it claps back at you asking for the 605 code. You might say this has been sort of a precursor of things to come to get us ready for the changeover.

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Numbers have always intrigued me. Growing up, you would look at old business calendars and they might have had a 3 or 4 digit phone number for the locals to call. When I received my permission and instructions on how we would be making a phone call from our home it was simply a nine, which was the last of the 3-digit pre-curser number 869- then the 4 digits you were calling. Presho was 5- then the four-digit number. I also remember being impressed with all the different area codes when I moved briefly to Minneapolis.

We're getting bigger. Roads have more motorists. In a way, I'm somewhat surprised it's taken this long to warrant the change. Actually, it wasn't population and caused the switch. The press release went on to say;

“An unfortunate byproduct of the FCC’s efforts to establish an easy-to-use suicide prevention hotline number is the upcoming requirement for all of us to use the full 10 digits including area code when dialing a phone number.  Whenever possible, preprogram frequently used numbers into your phone to make this conversion easier,” recommended PUC Chairman Chris Nelson.

The FCC recently adopted an order designating 988 as a new abbreviated dialing code and determined that all area codes where 988 is a working prefix would be required to convert from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit dialing prior to the 988 abbreviated code being put into use.

Starting July 16, 2022, dialing 988 will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Until then, customers wishing to reach the Lifeline must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

James J Hill House