Civic News

After more than 70 years, the District has plans to implement a new area code: 771

This decision follows recent projections showing that the District will run out of new numbers under its 202 area code by the third quarter of 2022.

Communication is key. (Photo by Flickr user perzon seo, used under a Creative Commons license)

The District of Columbia is being assigned a new area code as the region is poised to run out of phone numbers with its old one.

Since 1947, D.C. has carried the 202 area code, which has brought much pride to the region. Recent projections show that the District will run out of new numbers under its 202 area code by the third quarter of 2022. After more than 70 years of using 202, D.C. will welcome 771 to its area code family soon.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) assigned the new area code following a virtual hearing hosted by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia on September 1. The Public Service Commission approved the new area code at this meeting, and etched out a timeline to implement it. NANPA proposed a 13-month implementation plan the commission approved, which will phase the new area code in across three stages:

  • Stage one: Network preparation for six months
  • Stage two: Customer education period for six months, where 202 area code users can use seven and/or 10-digit wireless dialing
  • Stage three: A one-month period where 10-digit dialing becomes mandatory with the use of the 202 and 771 area codes happening simultaneously moving forward.

The 771 area code will be made available in every part of the District, while residents can still retain their numbers with the 202 area code. The commission established an Area Code Implementation Working Group to develop educational programs for residents and consumers transitioning to use the new area code in the District. Residents interested in joining the working group can reach out to the commission directly.

Maryland is also in talks to get a new area code in the area that encompasses Montgomery County. After a formal process is complete, a new area code will likely be introduced in the third quarter of 2025, WUSA9 reported.


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