For a Good Cause 10-Digit Dialing Must Start

For a good cause… ten-digit dialing must be implemented in all areas of the U.S.

This is due to technical reasons supporting the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) directive adopting 988 as the three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. For 988 to work in the 218-area code, 10-digit local dialing must first be implemented, which means you will need to change the way you dial local calls.

The 988 hotline is starting July 16, 2022. Customers should continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

What will be the new dialing procedure?
To complete all local calls, you will now need to dial 218 + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with seven digits.

Who will be affected?
Anyone with a telephone number with the area code 218 will need to make this change from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit local dialing.

When will the change begin?
Beginning April 24, 2021, you can and should begin dialing 10 digits (218 + telephone number) for all local calls. If you forget and dial just 7 digits, for now, your call will still be completed.

Beginning January 1, 2022, you must dial 10-digits (218 + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7-digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number.

Reprogram Your Auto Dialers
In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers.

Some examples are life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services and other similar functions. Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items 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 dialing change.
• 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 long-distance calls.
• You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services).
• 211, 411, 511, 611, or 811 services can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Who may you contact with questions?
If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call our office at 218-837-5151 or access www.wcta.net for more information. You can also visit the FCC website.

And remember, if you or anyone you know needs it, beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will quickly route your call to National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

For more information see the FCC Announcement.

#988SuicideHotline

Dialing 988 for Suicide Prevention Begins July 2022

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is adopting 988 as the three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Use begins July 16, 2022 nationwide. You should continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

For more information see the FCC Announcement.

#988SuicideHotline

Beneath Your Rural Feet

Driving through Main Street in Sebeka, the back-country roads of Wolf Lake or Wadena, from cabins in Menahga all the way to farms in Staples and Verndale… the picture is rural.

To those who live here our communities offer the vital space to live out our independent spirits. We experience our communities as active and vibrant; full of fun-loving, hardworking people. Throughout this report, you’ll see pictures of our employees and their families ejoying life in our area. Just like you.

Yet, to an outsider the wide-open spaces can look different. A simple, but underdeveloped Main Street, or an occasional dilapidated rural building, might look sleepy. One home every mile, compared to many in just one block is the lifestyle difference. More specifically, in the United States, rural areas have just 6% of the overall population, but about 50% of the territory.

Despite the appearance and density differences, there is something else that makes us quite unique.

Someone unfamiliar might be surprised to know that running silently underfoot is a lit-glass communication system that rivals any in the world. This ‘lit-glass’ is a fiber-optic network that connects directly to each business and residence in our area. On it, ultra-high-speed broadband internet is available to every corner of our service area.

Because of our early adoption to this fiber-optic network, your cooperative, with technical experts and leading management continues to expand and transform this region into a communication powerhouse ripe with opportunity for every rural corner.

As evidence of our leadership, we regularly give input to legislative offices such as Amy Klobuchar’s on telecommunications issues affecting rural areas. The public and cooperative investments made here are a rural model for advancing telecommunications infrastructure.

We work hard every day to make this rural area a great place to live and work. We invite you to secure the opportunities and embrace our leading technologies. Thank you for making us a part of your rural life.

#ruraliscool

Cabin Life & Fast Internet

Tucked away in a Menahga family cabin is where Ida Moen Johnson retreated with her husband during the Covid-19 shutdown earlier this year. As the outside world was in turmoil, peace and tranquility descended upon them as they enjoyed their stay in the area.

For Ida, the time was extra special. Not just because she got to enjoy cabin life, but she was able to use the time to finish her PhD in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley in May. The idea came when her father (former MN Representative Clark Johnson, 19A from 2013 to 2018) had praise for the cooperative and their communication services. He knew it was a special place where she could accomplish something.

How could a PhD in Menahga be possible? Well, it starts with directly connected fiber-optic internet provided by West Central Telephone. According to Ida, she was allowed flawless on-line research capability from the middle of very rural Minnesota. She communicated effortlessly worldwide from San Francisco to Scandinavia and points in between. The service and support she received were better in Menahga than big-city metro areas where she has lived in the past.

Rural Co-op Fiber-optics

With the rural fiber-optic internet network that connects to every corner and every cabin of the West Central Telephone service area, the possibilities are limitless for development. As a communications cooperative our first mission is to assure the region has access to the technology it needs to thrive in the 21st century. And because there are no investors to pay first, every dollar invested quickly goes to make sure the internet service to every corner of the service area is built. Fast, reliable internet is a reality to even the most remote places.

This rural fiber-optic network investment by West Central Telephone is made possible through years of diligent management dedication to developing technology infrastructure for the area. As a cooperative this is a perfect example of implementation of trailblazing rural services created by co-op community partnerships.

The result is that from rural business operations, to work-from-home, and student situations like Ida’s, anything is possible with direct fiber-optic internet.

When Ida was approached to tell her story, she was happy to do so because having access to great internet is good for democracy and the future of rural America. Ida moved on and thanks to the PhD she was able to acquire while here, is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Olaf College. We wish her well and will be glad to see her and the entire crew visiting at the Menahga cabin as the family tradition continues.

Ready for Development Today

For more information about direct fiber-optic internet in rural Minnesota, please reach out. We’re happy to tell our trailblazing story of how fiber-optic internet is changing the landscape of our region… making it ready for any development to come. Thank you for choosing West Central Telephone.

#ruraliscool

MegaPuck2011

MegaPuck2011

“They are a technologically far superior and advanced telephone company compared to bigger city companies. Great customer service to boot!”

James K.

James K.

“Very helpful.”

Randy N.

Randy N.

“Josh was right on time and didn’t leave till everything was working. Thanks again.”

Matt E.

Matt E.

“Right from the initial phone call, West Central Telephone was more than willing to help get things running. It felt like I had a business partner.”

Paul & Katie J.

Paul & Katie J.

“Working with West Central Telephone made it easy to get the services that help us run our business with ease.”

James M.

James M.

“Love WCTA!! I work in IT and deal with another internet provider at work so I sure appreciate the level of support you guys provide!!”