All telephones in the University were temporarily inactivated yesterday afternoon.
Robert McGuire, local manager of New England Telephone Company's Cambridge office, said the cause of the disorder was a machine failure in the electronic switching office which handles the centrex system.
McGuire said the 495 and 498 exchanges lost their dial tone completely for five minutes at 2:25 p.m., and that for the next 25 minutes "people were getting intermittent service." McGuire said the two exchanges were fully restored at 2:55 p.m.
McGuire said he did not know what caused the machine to break down or if it was likely to occur again soon.