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Cincinnati Bell Launches Call Manager Service

Cincinnati Bell Telephone (CBT) said today it is now offering customers Internet Call Manager, a service that allows users to receive incoming phone calls on the same phone line while online.

First launched in Canada in 1997, Cincinnati Bell said it is the first U.S. telco to offer the service. Internet Call Manager (ICM) was originally developed by Halifax, N.S.-based InfoInterActive (IAA).

Cincinnati Bell, which covers southwestern Ohio, northern Kentucky, and southeastern Indiana, said it is rolling out the service following positive market trials. Special equipment is not required and ICM will come bundled with free related software.

According to Cincinnati Bell, 75-80% of calls to users logged onto the Internet result in busy signals. Internet Call Manager, which the telco said is compatible with almost all Internet services, monitors incoming calls and sends a message to users via their PC screens announcing the caller's name and phone number.

Internet users can then select from a variety of Call Manager options such as "Answer," in which the caller receives a message stating the Internet user has been notified of the call and will answer it. The service then logs the user off the network so the call can go through.

The second option, "Notify," sends the caller a message stating the user is online and will call back. The third option, "Transfer," enables the user to switch the call elsewhere, such as a wireless phone or to a second phone line.

Regardless of options selected, all calls are automatically filed to a phone log on the PC's hard drive listing the caller's name, number, and status of call.

Cincinnati Bell said the ICM service will be available for $7.00 per month for residences and $8.00 for businesses with a $6.50 activation fee.



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