Local calls now possible over longer distance

Dennis Webb
GSPI News Editor

The local telephone calling area grew to take in virtually all of Garfield County Wednesday – or it should have.

Just before midnight Tuesday, Qwest enacted the system changes that make all calls between Parachute and Carbondale free.

Previously, calling between Parachute and Glenwood Springs or Carbondale was long-distance. Silt residents also had to dial “1” to call Carbondale.

By and large, the switchover seems to have gone smoothly.

“We’ve been calling Glenwood a couple of times and we haven’t had any problem,” said Melissa Boger, a manager and cook at the Outlaw Restaurant in Parachute.

Terry Davis, manager of the Silt Co-Op, said he has been able to reach Parachute and Carbondale through local calls.

But Bev Thompson of Silt said she had yet to be able to call Parachute successfully. She got a recorded message saying she needed to dial “1” and the area code first.

Qwest’s help line told her it might take up to 72 hours for the local-calling conversion to be completed.

She said she also was told she would have to continue dialing the “970” area code to call Parachute, even after the changeover.

That shouldn’t be the case, said Qwest spokesman Vince Hancock. He said the area code doesn’t need to be used within the new local calling area.

“Our network techs went in and checked all the exchanges … and everything went through and they didn’t have any issues,” he said.

He said anyone still having problems should call the customer service line, 1-800-244-1111.

Thompson said she still was unable to call Parachute Thursday.

“Maybe I just need to talk to somebody else at that 800 number,” she said.

Those using the switch are happy.

“I think it’s pretty good. Any time you get a local call it beats the heck out of long-distance charges,” said Terry Davis, who in his business calls people as far away as Eagle and DeBeque.

Boger said the cost savings will benefit her family because her husband often must get in touch with his boss in New Castle.

Juanita Satterfield, Parachute’s town administrator, said the expanded calling area will mean big savings for the town and its residents.

“With our law enforcement and so on, it will be substantial,” she said.

Police often call the county jail and county offices in Glenwood Springs.

“We were just delighted when the opportunity arose … and we’ll enjoy the savings,” Satterfield said.

Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516

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