Half-way or lower down a long priority list, the average University resident student seeking a precious telephone, may have to wait as long as three additional months before his number comes up. That is the latest word on a constantly changing situation, according to B. A. Dwyer, Manager of the Cambridge Branch Office of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company.
While the telephone company is "doing everything possible" to expedite the flow of phone units to those desiring them Dwyer declared that it would not be until the middle of February until his office could match the supply and demand.
The chief obstruction, he said, is a dearth of what he called "central office facilities," which means the apparatus at the branch office used to make the connections between incoming and outgoing calls. Owing to this shortage, the Company has had to keep at least 4200 Cambridge residents on its waiting lists.
Of this number, an estimated 800 requests came from members of the University. When finally installed these units, added to the estimated 100 now in the University, will give a total of 900 telephone units at Harvard, as opposed to the pre-war average of from 1200 to 1400.
Until the shortage is completely solved, however the phone company will continue to operate under a wartime system of priorities as outlined in Civilian Production Order U-2, Dwyer stated.
Under this order, users of telephones in any area are divided into nine categories. In this system, students generally fall into category number nine, a classification reserved for individuals who never before had phones.
Students in the higher brackets are veterans who are either heads of families, or, if single, are receiving disability payments from the government amounting to at least $50 per month. Possessors of phones before the war also get something of a break, Dwyer noted.
Although the telephone company schedule calls for full delivery by February, this service in any given case may not be exactly what is desired.
A good many of the applications for single service may be forced to take a "two party measured residence" line, or a "two party" or even a four party contiguous service, rather than the single unit.