PENINSULA - Web surfers yearning for faster speeds don't have to wait much longer. CenturyTel is planning to add DSL service to previously unavailable areas.

According to Willie Ward, supervisor of CenturyTel DSL installation on the Peninsula, the wait for some residents is almost over. Of the 750 phone lines where the service is unavailable, 650 will be DSL-ready "sometime around mid-year."

"Even though DSL has been in most of the area for a few years, it is still an emerging technology," said Ward. "I wish it were easier, but the truth is it takes time, and it costs a lot to deploy the service in new areas."

To make DSL available in a given area, computer equipment that basically separates voice from data must be installed at the switching center.

Think of a switching center or "switch" as a post office, but your phone number is used instead of your street address.

Most people have seen switches before. You may have noticed a green metal box about the size of a small refrigerator somewhere in your neighborhood.

Chances are the nearest "refrigerator" to your house is your switch. In order for your house to receive DSL, your switch needs to be "turned up" - or have DSL hardware installed.

The service utilizes telephone wires already in the ground and no additional wires are needed.

By mid-May, CenturyTel will turn up three more switches adding 650 more phone lines to the coverage footprint. Most customers affected will either be in the area north of Ocean Park or the Vandalia area, northwest of Chinook.

After those switches are enabled, Ward said "less than 100 subscribers on the Peninsula will still not have it available."

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