news: Telecommuting: Nynex officials say volume of calls up (fwd)

Rohit Khare (
Wed, 2 Apr 1997 15:15:09 -0500 (EST)

> Telecommuting: Nynex officials say
> volume of calls up sharply
> By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff, 04/02/97
> Local telephone lines were frequently overwhelmed yesterday
> as workers stayed home through the storm and
> "telecommuted" to their offices via Internet or telephone
> e-mail connections.
> Nynex officials said the company's network of telephone
> switches experienced extraordinary demands because of the
> storm, particularly in residential areas where the system is
> meant to handle relatively light loads.
> Complete post-blizzard coverage
> Much of the extra traffic was generated by home computer
> users logging on to the Internet or other computer dial-up
> services, the company said. Internet traffic over phone lines is
> being carefully watched by the phone industry as it considers
> adding surcharges for the service. Internet service companies
> respond that phone companies should instead use special
> equipment that would let Internet calls bypass the voice
> telephone network.
> Nynex spokesman John Hoey, who yesterday joined the
> telecommuters via a connection to the Nynex computer
> network from his home in Marshfield where he was
> stranded, said the storm knocked out relatively few of
> Nynex's 4.1 million Massachusetts phone lines. As of
> midafternoon yesterday, about 16,000 problems had been
> reported, but that amount wasn't considered unusual.
> The sheer volume of calls, however, often left many circuits
> blocked, Hoey said, frustrating many callers with busy signals.
> ``On a typical business day in Massachusetts, we handle 94
> million calls,'' said Hoey. ``On Monday, we handled 112
> million calls. Today [yesterday] we anticipate that that number
> will increase another 15 to 20 percent.'' That would work out
> to about 134 million calls in Massachusetts alone.
> Because of the blizzard, said Hoey, there was a major shift in
> phone traffic. Thousands of calls that people would otherwise
> have made from their business offices were instead placed at
> home.
> To make matters worse, many calls yesterday lasted longer
> than the three-minute average for most local phone calls.
> Hoey said this was probably because so many stranded
> families were logging on to computer networks.
> Hoey added that the storm shows that people need ways to
> access computer networks without having to pass through
> the telephone system, which could then be reserved only for
> voice communications. For example, those who get Internet
> access from their cable television provider are unaffected by
> increases in telephone traffic.
> Those who got through to an Internet service provider
> generally had no problems. Area providers reported increases
> in traffic, but nothing they couldn't handle.
> The Globe's on-line subsidiary,, yesterday
> recorded its busiest day ever, logging 77,500 users who
> requested about 500,000 pages of information, much of it
> storm-related. For the first time ever, broke the 3
> million ``hit'' mark with 3,123,787 hits in a 24-hour period.
> Hits are defined as the number of times files at the site are
> accessed by a user. Each page at the site can contain a number
> of files.
> This story ran on page b6 of the Boston Globe on 04/02/97.