Lack of phone lines halts internet traffic at peak periods

Stabroek News
March 25, 2000

The information superhighway ends up in a parking lot when it reaches Guyana, according to some internet users.

The main reason for subscribers being unable to log on is the lack of phone lines to the internet service providers (ISP). As Oliver Insanally, managing director of Guyana Net, explains, at peak periods the lines become jammed. These hunting lines contain on average about 40 actual phone lines for each number. When a computer dials a number the computer would search until it finds a vacant line. Should all be busy the computer should switch to another number and hunt within that group. Insanally said that Guyana Net has only four main numbers with total capacity for 129 users at one time. The ratio of users to available lines is 7:1 and he concedes that in peak times 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, there are delays.

He said that he has been constantly asking the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Ltd (GT&T) to rectify the situation for a number of months; and has learnt that by next Tuesday 20 more lines will be available. He predicted that this should relieve congestion in the short term.

The situation is the same at Solutions 2000 where the "webmaster" Mark Abrams said that the company has three hunt lines with 45 lines each. He declined to say what the ratio of users to lines was, but suggested to customers that instead of waiting to connect they should press cancel and try again. The computer should then dial another of the numbers.

Internet Works has six lines and support engineer Justin Singh said that at no time should all the numbers be busy. This was confirmed by computer operators at Stabroek News who noted that the easiest way to get on the internet was through this particular ISP. However, there are waiting lists at all the ISPs due to the lack of lines so switching is not an option.