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RealTime IT News

ISP Call Failure Rates Up in September

While August was a stellar month for Web surfers trying to connect to their Internet service providers, September's autumn breeze blew higher call failure rates, according to Inverse Network Technology Inc.

Inverset Network Technology reported Tuesday that Internet service providers reported an average call failure rate of 4.5 percent in September. That's nearly 1 percent higher than August and is the highest failure rate since April.

Call failure rate measures the likelihood of a user's failing to connect to his ISP on the first try. Factors such as busy signals, failure to answer or connect and log in problems are all considered.

Mike Watters, chief executive officer of Inverse, said the rise was largely expected.

"September marks the end of the vacation season, a time when consumers, especially students, start spending much more time online," said Watters. "This isn't unlike what we've seen previously."

This September was unique, Watters said, because both the Starr Report and President Clinton's testimony was released on the Internet, driving up usage, and therefore, call failure rates.

"Though neither of these events overwhelmed the 'Net as doomsayers predicted, they did have a perceptible negative impact on users' ability to get online quickly," he said.

Although the failure rate was up from the summer months, overall industry averages are much improved over last year, the report noted. The 24-hour call failure rate of 8.3 percent in September 1997 was nearly double the 4.5 percent rate in September 1998. Similarly, the September-to-September call failure rate for consumer hours dropped from 12.4 percent to 6.7 percent. During business hours it fell from 8.6 percent to 5 percent.

Of the 25 major ISPs measured in the report, the highest marks were given to Ameritech, which received an A+ in all three failure rate categories. BellAtlantic, IBM, MCI and Prodigy also did well, scoring either an A or A+ in at least one of the categories.