On August 14th of 2018, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act (NSHIA) was signed into law. As part of this effort, the FCC has been working with industry stakeholders toward the establishment of an easy to remember three-digit dialing code. This three-digit code allows people to easily reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline when experiencing a mental health crisis. Selecting a memorable three-digit code, similar to 9-1-1, will allow for easy access to suicide prevention assistance during a time of crisis.
Yesterday, the FCC took the next step in the process of establishing 9-8-8 as the three-digit dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. With the vote by all five Commissioners, the FCC will begin the process toward issuing an order, by obtaining industry and public feedback. Presuming that the order is final, telecommunication carriers are likely to have up to 18 months to implement 9-8-8 dialing.
We agree with FCC Commissioners who have unanimously expressed support for the opening of this rulemaking. The issue of mental health and suicide is critical, and time is of the essence.
So with that in mind, today we implemented 9-8-8 dialing for all Sonic customers. This implementation provides 9-8-8 dialing service to over a quarter of a million Californians. POTS and VoIP services are included, for both business and residential customers.
We hope that none of our customers, their families, or their employees find themselves considering that suicide is their only option. But if anyone is at that point, we want to take whatever steps we can to help them connect with assistance in their time of need.
So, thank you to those who supported this legislation, and to the FCC Commissioners and Staff who are advancing this effort.