Important Message for Washington, DC Service Providers

Area Code Overlay Approved for the Washington, DC 202 Area Code

Attention: Alarm and Security Service/Equipment Providers

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia approved the addition of the new 771 area code to the geographic region served by the 202 area code.  This process is known as an area code overlay.

What is an area code overlay?

An overlay is the addition of another area code (771) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (202). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code or telephone number but does require using a new dialing procedure to complete calls.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

The new dialing procedure will require that all calls in the 202 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number.  The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers that are assigned with the new 771 area code.

How does this affect providers of alarm and security services and equipment?

As a result of the overlay, a new local dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. 

Alarm and security services and equipment currently located in the 202 area code and programmed to dial only seven digits must be updated or reprogrammed to dial area code + telephone number for all calls in the 202/771 area code.

Reprogramming of alarm equipment should be completed by October 9, 2021.

To verify that equipment can complete calls to the new 771 area code, a special test number, 771-990-TEST (8378), will be in service beginning August 9, 2021 and it will remain active through December 9, 2021.

When will the change begin?

Effective April 10, 2021, if you have a 202 area code, you should begin dialing the area code + telephone number whenever you place a call.  If you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed.

Beginning October 9, 2021, if you have a 202 area code, you must dial the area code + telephone number on all calls, including calls within the same area code.  On and after this date, if you do not dial the area code + telephone number, your calls will not complete and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again, including the area code.

Beginning November 9, 2021, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 771 area code.

What will remain the same?

  • Telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • Emergency services can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, these calls may still be dialed using just the three digits.

Who may you contact with questions?

Customers with questions regarding the dialing procedure change should be directed to their local service provider, or they can contact the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia at



Co-Chairs for the DC 202/771 Area Code Industry Team

Laura Dalton,

Karen Riepenkroger,

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