Area Code Overlay 518/838

518-838-overlay

Area Code Overlay Approved for the Upstate New York 518 Area Code

To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 838 area code will be added to the area served by 518. This is known as an area code overlay. Get ready to change the way you dial your calls made within the 518 area code!

Is this really necessary?

This area code overlay was approved by the NY Public Service Commission (NYPSC) in September to address the near-term exhaustion of phone numbers in the 518 area code.  After careful consideration of the alternatives, the NYPSC chose this method because it was deemed less costly, less disruptive and less likely to frustrate customers.  Further, the NYPSC determined that the overlay method was likely to enhance the public interest more so than the alternatives.

At FirstLight, we want our customers to be aware of this important development,  which is why we have begun notifying customers well in advance of this change.  Should you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to visit our website at www.firstlight.net or you can contact the NYPSC to share your thoughts by clicking here.

What is an area code overlay?    

An overlay is the addition of another area code (838) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (518).
An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

Who will be affected?

The 518 area code covers all or part of 17 counties in eastern upstate New York, serving communities in the Capital region of Albany and its surrounding suburbs, such as Plattsburgh and Lake Placid.  The new 838 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 518 area code.

What will be the new dialing procedure?

To complete calls within the 518 area code region, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 518 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using ten digits, that is, the area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 838 area code.

When will the change begin?

Effective March 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.

Beginning 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.

Beginning 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 you need to do?

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 are: stored telephone numbers in contact lists in wireless phones, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, medical alert devices, safety alarm security systems and gates, ankle monitors and or other similar equipment.  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.

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.

Who may you contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call FirstLight at 800-461-4863 or access www.FirstLight.net for more information.  You can also visit the New York Public Service Commission’s website at http://www.dps.ny.gov/ for further information.