Dialing a Northwest Florida number? Soon you'll need to use 10 digits, not just seven

The News Service of Florida
Ten-digit dialing will soon be coming to Northwest Florida.

Ten-digit dialing will be needed for all calls in the 850 area code starting Feb. 20, in advance of the addition of another area code in Northwest Florida, the state Public Service Commission announced Friday.

A transition period will begin Aug. 22, with people able to dial seven-digit numbers or 10-digit numbers in the 850 area code, which includes communities such as Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola.

“Customers will have six months to transition, beginning August 22, when local calls can be made by dialing either 7 or 10 digits,” Public Service Commission Chairman Gary Clark said in a prepared statement.

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“This also gives customers adequate time to check and reprogram electronics and other equipment to incorporate 10-digit phone numbers.”

The additional area code for the region, 448, will be given to new customers or customers adding services starting March 20.

The 850 area code will remain in place for already-existing customers.

The additional area code is needed, in part, because of the proliferation of cell phones, which has caused area codes to run out quicker.

The additional area code was approved in November.