Phone Snafu

News Shorts

Twelve of the over 500 Harvard and Cambridge phones that were kicked out of service Sunday morning by a computer failure remained disconnected yesterday afternoon, 19 hours after the passage of the latest in a series of phone company deadlines for repairing all the lines.

Robert Foye, manager of New England Telephone's business service center in Cambridge, said yesterday the repair crew had assured him that all remaining problems would be cleared up last night.

The phone company has now extended the original deadline twice. Operators said Sunday all phones would be working by 7 a.m. Monday, but when phones still malfunctioned after that time, Foye changed the deadline to 9 p.m. Monday.

"I appreciate the frustrations people have," Foye said. Working with computers is "a hairy thing. When they hiccup they destroy everything," he added.

The phone company's troubles began Sunday when a computer controlling Harvard Centrex and telephones in other part of Cambridge "hiccupped" because of problems encountered while installing a new electronic switching unit.