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Park County eliminating Voice Mail from Hell

Brief by Central Staff

Telecommunications – February 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Those of us who frequently call government offices occasionally exchange tales of Voice Mail From Hell. While there are some state offices in Denver that are fairly talented at producing frustration and annoyance for citizens, the local consensus has given first prize to the Park County government offices in Fairplay.

However, that may change this month. Last year, the Park County Commissioners agreed to spend $19,000 to install fiber-optic cables in and between county offices. The county will also get two high-capacity T1 lines, one for data and one for voice, as well as new voice-mail software.

To quote from the Jan. 4 edition of the Flume, “The current phone system has been heavily used by county employees for internet service. As a result, residents trying to conduct county business have expressed frustration at being caught in the system’s voice-mail loop. Actual delivery of voice messages has been unreliable.”

An inspection last summer revealed that some lines in county buildings were broken, and others went to unknown destinations.

There’s more good news about telephone service in Park County — local calling zones are scheduled to expand on Jan. 31, so that Bailey will be a local call from Fairplay. Also, Woodland Park will be a local call from Bailey, and Deckers a local call from Fairplay.

And in much of the San Luis Valley, high-speed DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet access should be available soon, if not already, in exchanges served by CenturyTel.

Besides offering a fast data connection that is always on, DSL also provides a voice channel on the same line. However, the service can’t reach farther than 3.4 miles from a switch — typically, the exchange in town.

CenturyTel announced that the La Jara, Sanford, San Luis, Antonito, Manassa, and Creede switches would offer DSL in December. Saguache, Spar City, and Center are scheduled to get it during the first quarter of this year, with Capulin and Conejos scheduled for this summer.

As for more populated spots like Salida, Leadville, and Alamosa — their local service still comes from Qwest, which has been trying to sell the exchanges. Perhaps on that account, Qwest hasn’t been in any hurry to invest in improving service.

It used to be that if you lived in town, you pitied your “country cousins” for their party lines and related bad telephone service. Now we “city slickers” are jealous.