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Telephone Companies Warn of Possible New Year's Communication Overload

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RALEIGH — Telephone companies are warning about the possibility of communication overload and are encouraging people not to make calls on New Year's Day.

Officials say the telephone system is set up like a highway. When too many people use it, others are unable to get through the lines, possibly causing a major backup.

While they are confident phone systems can withstand the year 2000 date change, they are not sure if the systems can support all of the expected calls.

Alltel has even sent out a flyer encouraging people to minimize telephone use on New Year's Day, which includes getting online.

The telephone companies say that if anyone has to make a call, to do so before or after New Year's Day to avoid delays anticipated from the high volume of calls.

Phone companies urge users to limit the time they spend on the phone if they have to use it. They say that should help ease any overload problems. If the problems are severe it could impact someone who is trying to make an emergency call.

Phone companies suggest waiting several minutes to attempt a call again if users experience any problems. They also suggest having at least one telephone available that does not rely on electrical power -- and to make sure cellular phones are charged and operational.


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