Smooth seven digits switch
- GT&T reports

Guyana Chronicle
February 2, 2001

GUYANA's telephone system has now become standardised with that of North America and the region.

Effective midnight Wednesday, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) successfully effected a changeover from five digits to seven digits, the company reported.

As a result, customers now need to dial seven digits when making telephone calls to neighbours or even within the same exchange.

GT&T Deputy General Manager Public Communication, Mr Terry Holder said the changeover "went well" and Guyana's telephone system is now consistent with that of other countries in North America and the Caribbean.

However, a "minor" hiccup has been experienced which local technicians are working with their Nortel counterparts to correct, he said.

Through an automatic recording, subscribers should be informed of the new system if they forget to dial the now required seven digits when calling, he said.

However, the company has observed that the recording is absent from the numbers of some subscribers and a busy tone or a recording stating "all circuits are busy" is experienced instead.

Holder assured though that everything was being done to have the operation running smoothly.

He noted that GT&T has gone the extra mile to sensitise subscribers about the changeover by placing advertisements in the daily newspapers, as well as by attaching the information for each subscriber in their January bill.

Holder suggested customers keep a copy of the information at hand until they become familiar with the new system.

He said the same procedure applies when using phone cards, adding that in an effort to assist customers using these, GT&T has posted information sheets at all call boxes.

Holder said callers from overseas who are not aware of the changeover will not experience any difficulty.

He explained that a system is in place for the next three months and if a five-digit number is dialled from overseas the call will automatically be processed.

But a recording will inform the person dialling of the new code that should be used in future, he said.

As was expected, several persons yesterday said they forgot about the changeover though forewarned by the telephone company.

However, those who remembered said they had no difficulty.

Ardis Miller, seamstress, said she remembered "the changeover was today and I had no difficulty at all reaching any of the people I wanted to talk to."

"I think GT&T has made it quite easy for even the smallest child to understand."

Cindy of Byte `N' Surf Cybercafe said they experienced no problems and everything was okay.

Rodlin, a housewife had no problem dialling out. "The only thing is a number of people ended up calling my home thinking it is Courts."

"Such things are expected when a new system is being put in place", she said.

Ryan Brown, Softech employee, said, "Basically we had no problems at the office here, and even with having to call around Georgetown as the information was well publicised."

"I had difficulty, however, trying to remember how to access out-of-town numbers, as the exchange codes have also been changed. Over time though I am certain everyone will become accustomed to the new system", he said.

Blackman said, "Although GT&T had sent a brief about the changeover, my family had forgotten everything and as a result had difficulty trying to contact some people.

"Fortunately for us a friend called and enlightened us.

"However, a number of people have been calling our number for others."

Raywattie: "I was on the computer for some time trying to dial into GuyanaNet not realising I was not using the new system. By chance I looked around and saw that a notice was posted with the new numbers. I tried them and got through."

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