10/18/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/18/2021 18:05
October 18, 2021
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - GCI, the state's largest telecommunications company, and its subsidiary, United Utilities, Inc. (UUI) are making final preparations for a transition to 10-digit dialing for all local and Alaska calls starting on October 24, 2021. At the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this effort is laying the groundwork for the implementation of a nationwide three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The change means that Alaskans will need to dial "907" for every call made to other Alaskans with a 907 area code - even if the individual lives right next door. This additional step for making calls will be most evident for landline callers who manually dial phone numbers. For mobile device users who most frequently make calls to individuals already on their contact list, the impact is expected to be low as contacts already frequently include the "907" area code.
"We know this will be a big change for Alaskans and we want to ensure that GCI customers have ample time to prepare," said GCI Chief Communications Officer Heather Handyside. "We encourage our customers to review and update their contact lists if necessary, and to also consider any devices they use that may make outgoing calls and check that they are configured correctly."
Alaska businesses will also be impacted by the change. In addition to dialing "907" for outgoing local calls, businesses may need to reprogram their phone's features, such as call forwarding. Depending on the type and age of the business phone system, a technician may need to make additional updates.
The move to 10-digit dialing may impact any device that dials externally, including: mobile phones, home phones, business phones, fax machines, security systems, fire alarm systems, elevator phones, life alert devices, speed dialers, voicemail services, call forwarding settings, and more. Alaskans should also check any websites, personal or business stationary, advertising materials, pet ID tags and other such items to ensure the area code is included.
The FCC's order to establish a three-digit nationwide suicide prevention number will give mental health resources the same priority given to other emergency services associated with 911. The service is expected to launch nationwide in mid-2022.
Alaska's suicide rate is more than twice the national average and is even higher in rural areas. Quick and easy access to remote mental health resources are critical, especially in areas with few, if any, mental health professionals.
"In a state like Alaska where help may very well be more than a short walk or car ride of way, ease of access to these lifesaving resources is crucial," said GCI Chief Marketing Officer Kate Slyker. "The implementation of a three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline will give Alaskans in crisis ready access to a provider in Alaska who understands the unique challenges and complex dynamics of life in our hometown."
Currently, those experiencing a mental health crisis can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing 1 after dialing, as well as by chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net or texting 838255.
GCI is committed to supporting organizations working to prevent suicide in Alaska. In September, GCI announced the donation of nearly $100,000 to 14 nonprofits working to combat suicide in Alaska by promoting mental wellness through strengthened community and personal connections. Since 2016, GCI has contributed more than $500,000 to local organizations for suicide prevention efforts. For more information about the GCI Suicide Prevention Fund, visit https://www.gci.com/why-gci/gcigives/gci-suicide-prevention-fund.
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $3 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation's northernmost 5G service area. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP). Learn more about Liberty Broadband at http://www.libertybroadband.com.
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