Shaw may soon be lone community without phone lines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Soon, the Shaw/ Blackhawk area may be the only area in Louisiana without phone service.

As it stands, the small community in south Concordia Parish is joined by a community in Natchitoches Parish &045;&045; Mink. However, Wednesday the Public Service Commission announced BellSouth will provide phone service to Mink within the next year.

Bill Robertson, executive assistant to commissioner Foster Campbell, said Shaw is under more study. Robertson said the PSC hopes to have a solution with a year to a year and a half to provide phone service to Shaw/Blackhawk.

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&uot;We’re looking at land line, cellular and possibly even other technology to provide that service,&uot; he said Friday.

Right now, the area has just spotty cell phone service.

The possibilities may even deal with wireless Internet, Robertson said.

There is &uot;new technology on the horizon and in use in some communities that might be the best for Shaw,&uot; he said.

Right now the PSC is waiting on community members to bring them a firm list of prospective users who want phone service. &uot;When we have a firm updated list and firm solution, we will go to the commissioners with a vote,&uot; Robertson said.

The people in Mink worked 27 years to get phone service in their community, Robertson said, and the people of Shaw/Blackhawk have worked almost as long.

The situation in Shaw and Blackhawk is more complicated than Mink, Robertson said. Mink is located in the Kisatchie National Forest.

For Shaw and Blackhawk to get phones it will be more costly because there is a lot of water around the area and putting in poles and phone lines would involved a lot of river crossings, Robertson said.