Many areas of county fall outside service areas, lack infrastructureCANNON BEACH - A bit of confusion has accompanied the arrival of high-speed Internet service using telephone lines, but rumors of a major delay for all customers are unfounded.

Long awaited high-speed service using "digital subscriber lines" or DSL became available for Cannon Beach Nov. 11. The telephone company providing the service is Qwest, under provisions of Senate Bill 622 for regional infrastructure improvements.

"We're way ahead of our committed schedule on deployment" of the DSL service, said Ron Trullinger, Qwest's project manager for Senate Bill 622. However, some technical considerations may have contributed to misunderstandings last week about DSL, he said.

Like any area served by Qwest DSL, availability may be affected by the location or by the quality of the telephone line to a home or business.

Generally, DSL is available within a 3-mile radius of a Qwest central office. Because of technical limitations, Qwest and county officials have consistently stated that residents outside that radius, as well as some customers inside it, will not qualify.

People who call Qwest or their Internet service provider to order digital subscriber line service can learn whether the service is available to them.

However, the Qwest computer systems will not explain why, and some customers allegedly received different information online than they did from Qwest representatives about whether they were eligible.

Susan Trabucco, who has served as a telecommunications liaison for Clatsop County, recommended customers contact their Internet service provider if they encounter such problems.

There is no truth to the rumor that Cannon Beach customers will have a waiting period of a year to 18 months for DSL, Trabucco said.

"Some Clatsop County customers will be able to get DSL, and some won't, because of wiring conditions," she said. Qwest will not re-wire for DSL service on an individual basis and must upgrade an entire area at one time.

However, some areas outside the standard 3-mile "footprint" for DSL service may receive DSL next year, Trabucco said. County officials are working with the state and Qwest to determine the best locations for equipment that can extend the service - remote DSL hubs called "DSLAMS."

The placement of the remote service equipment depends on the approval of the state economic development department, Trullinger said. Qwest is trying to use the money for that equipment equitably throughout the state, he added.

"We hope to have that all done by the middle of next year," he said.

As previously announced, high-speed Internet service using Qwest is expected to be available in much of Seaside and Gearhart in late December or early January, Trullinger said.

Customers who are within the three-mile radius of a central Qwest office but who cannot get DSL services probably will need to turn to an alternative for high-speed Internet access, such as cable modem through Charter Communications, or wireless services through North Coast Phone Center, Trabucco said.

The DSL improvements are part of a $120 million statewide program to bring modern communications to rural Oregon. Clatsop County was able to participate by partnering with Columbia and Tillamook counties on a successful regional project application that provided $9 million in telecommunications improvements.

Additional information is available in a technology resource and education guide produced by Clatsop County, "Have you e-volved?" It was recently distributed in local newspapers and is available at area chambers of commerce and public libraries.


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