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Local Growth Leaves Residents Hanging on the Line

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HOLLY SPRINGS — Growth means more people, more traffic, and more stress on the infrastructure. Neighborhoods, schools, and utilities are dealing with the overload. And in Holly Springs, the phone line frenzy has left some new residents hanging on the line.

New homes, fax lines, cell phones, and pagers have increased the demand for communications services. And phone companies are having a hard time keeping up.

Bill Wood spends a lot of time on the phone these days. But he's not just talking with friends about his new house. He's been talking with the phone company about his new service.

The Woods say they had to wait 4 days after they moved in before their phone was hooked up. And when it finally was, what they got was a temporary line.

"Every time it rains, the phone system goes out for a couple hours, or as much as a day when the rain really goes crazy," Lynne Wood said.

Triangle phone companies say they're having a tough time keeping up with the residential growth, and the increase in the number of phone lines per household.

"For new developments I know that there are times that there are challenges in getting the facilities there in time for the development when it opens," said Kathy Hawkins, a spokesperson for BellSouth.

BellSouth services Raleigh and much of the surrounding area. The company says its goal is to provide the phone service people wantwhenthey want it.

But in Holly Springs, where the Woods live, the local company, Sprint, says its goal is phone service within five working days. That's because the growth rate for phone lines there is twice the national average. The State Utilities Commission says its becoming a common problem.

Carol Stahl, the Director of Consumer Services said, "Anybody that's experiencing growth is going to experience delays in getting telephone service."

The Consumer Services Division says people have a right to expect new phone service within a reasonable period of time. Anyone having trouble, should ask to speak with a supervisor at the phone company. If that doesn't work, call the Consumer Services Division at 733-9277.

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Laurie Clowers, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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