838 Area Code Added to Region Currently Served by 518

518-838-overlayRecently, the New York Public Service Commission approved an “area code relief plan” for the part of the New York that is currently served by the 518 area code. This plan will add a new area code – 838 – to the 518 geographic region. The new area code is necessary to meet the demand for telephone numbers in this area. While this new initiative will bring change, an overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

The 518 area code currently covers communities in Albany and its surrounding suburbs and this new 838 area code will serve this same area.

Once the new code is introduced, you will need to change your dialing procedures to complete calls within this region. This means that beginning on August 19, 2017, all calls in the 518 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using ten digits, which is the area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 838 area code.

Below is a timeline for these changes:

phone-451401_960_720March 18, 2017 – You should begin using the new dialing procedures whenever you place a call from the 518 area code. If you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed.

August 19, 2017 – You must use the new dialing procedures, as described above, for all calls. After this date, if you do not use the new dialing procedures, your calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.

September 19, 2017 – New telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 838 area code. All calls made within and between area codes 518 and 838 must be placed using the 10-digit telephone number (518 or 838 plus the 7-digit telephone number).

What will remain the same?

  • Your 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.
  • You will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all calls to other area codes (outside of 518 and 838).
  • You can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community you will still dial these codes with just three digits.

In addition to changing your dialing procedures, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to dial a 7-digit number will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedure. Some examples for FirstLight customers are: PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings and voicemail services. You should also be sure to check your website, business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business printed checks, contact information, and your personal or pet ID tags to ensure the area code is included.

If you still have questions about the area code overlay, you can contact FirstLight at 1–800–461–4863, Menu Option #1, or visit  www.firstlight.net/area-code-overlay-518838/.