In October OJSC North-West Telecom expanded the telephone network of the city of Staraya Russa of Novgorod Oblast. Digital equipment with the capacity of 6400 lines has been put into operation in order to completely replace the outdated decade-step exchange ATS-2, the crossbar office (ATS-24) and ATS SI-2000 with the total capacity of 4960 lines.
To provide remote areas of the city with telephone communications, the required line structures have been built. By the end of the year, over 3900 subscribers of the Novgorodtelecom branch of OJSC NWT will be switched over free of charge to the up-to-date digital equipment. Over 1200 subscribers that shared a telephone line will get individual lines. Residents and enterprises of Staraya Russa will get both the opportunity to have a telephone connection installed and the opportunity to appreciate the high quality of telephone communication and the convenience of an entire range of new extra services, such as: call forwarding, notification of calls, conference communication, etc.
The transfer of subscribers to the new digital equipment has already started. It is being accompanied by a change of numbering within the city boundaries. By the year 2006, in Staraya Russa there will be no telephone numbers starting with "2" or "24" at all; and the range of numbers starting with "5" will be expanded. The process of switching over the subscribers is divided into several stages. Each subscriber is notified of the forthcoming switching over and change of the number in advance.
The decade-step exchange of Staraya Russa was one of the first telephone exchanges of this type in Novgorod Oblast. At that time, in 1970, the project was up-to-date and the equipment was advanced and high-tech for that moment. Today, when analog technologies have been replaced by digital ones, this exchange will be the last decade-step exchange in the Oblast to be deactivated.