Depending on which side of the street you're sitting here, it might take a long-distance call to telephone your neighbor.
It's all because of a boundary laid by Southwestern Bell officials years ago. It splits the Tulsa County town "right smack in half," City Manager Roger Miner says, leaving customers on one side with a Jenks exchange and those on the other side with a Kiefer exchange.
It means that customers north of the 141st Street boundary are charged long-distance rates to place a call across the street.
That's been the problem for years in this town of about 5,000 people. And, after a meeting this week with a Southwestern Bell representative, no one expects the situation to change.
"The reason we're flaring up again is that we don't feel like it's right to call our neighbors long distance," Miner said Thursday. Bell officials point out that state Sen. Bob Hopkins, D-Tulsa, called them recently about the problem.
The split robs the town of unity, and forces residents to decipher telephone bills with numerous charges, Miner said.
"It's a defined community ... divided down the middle," the city manager said.
Charles Sutter of Southwestern Bell said the phone company does offer a solution: three optional plans that allow customers "to call back and forth without paying a toll."
The company has offered the service for about four years, but only 174 customers have taken advantage of it, he said.
"They say they've got a problem, but they don't want to do anything about it," he said.
The rates for the first four hours of phone service to Tulsa, Jenks or Kiefer exchanges range from $7.20 to $12 per month. Each additional minute costs from 3 to 5 cents. Regular monthly charges and rental fees cost extra.
There are other services available, such as rates for businesses making frequent calls to nearby Tulsa.
Miner thinks he's being fed a line when phone company representatives tell him it would be too expensive to switch the town to one exchange or the other.
"We're going to be a ripe profit plum," he said. "I think it's a pretty exotic problem."
But Sutter says phone bills wouldn't change much, even with all the Glenpool customers assigned to one exchange.
"You want to make service affordable," he said. "(But) if you eliminate the long distance ... then flat rates would increase substantially." BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 135828