Increases in online holiday shopping combined with the
customary rise in online usage seen with the onset of colder weather
combined to drive up the call failure rates of Internet service providers
Inverse Network Technology Tuesday said ISP evening call failures climbed
to 8.6 percent in November from 6.8 percent in October. That puts the
failure rate at its highest level since April.
However, the industry still performed nearly 20 percent than the same
period in 1997, when the November failure rate stood at 10.5 percent.
Call failure rate measures the likelihood of a user’s failing to connect to
his ISP on the first try. It takes into account factors such as busy
signals, unanswered calls, failed logins and modem problems.
“While the cold-weather factor alone might have been offset by steady
infrastructure investments the ISP industry has been making to improve its
reliability record, this is the first year we’ve seen online shopping
become a serious mass-market trend,” said Mike Watters, Inverse president
In terms of major ISPs, AT&T WorldNet is
the industy’s valedictorian, retaining its A+ rating for the third straight
month. WorldNet had the lowest CFR of 1.6 percent. Also receiving high marks
were Bell Atlantic.net and Pacific Bell Internet, which both received an
A+ for business hours, evening hours and over a 24-hour period.
Other notable mentions include Southerwestern Bell Internet Services,
which had a CFR of 1.8 percent, as well as Cable & Wireless Internet, IBM Global Network, Sprint Business and BellSouth.net, all reporting CFRs of
less than 3 percent.
Inverse also found seven ISPs with evening-hour CFRs exceeding 10 percent,
with the worst performer failing to complete 17.5 of every 100 calls. No
names were disclosed from the poor ratings list.
The data for the report was compiled for Inverse’s Internet Measurement
Service, a benchmark study operating since June 1996 that measures ISP
results for 42 metropolitan regions selected to represent a majority of the
U.S. Internet community.