Students' telephone calls were limited to the Boston area for several hours last night as puzzled phone service personnel sought the cause of a problem with long distance lines.
Beginning at 8:20 p.m., Harvard operators began to receive a stream of complaints about malfunctioning Personal Access Codes (PACs), one operator said. By early this morning, phone service had been restored as technicians worked into the night to fix the problem.
Students placing long distance calls with PACs last night only heard fast busy signals. Students interviewed last night said they did not realize there was a campus-wide problem until they called Harvard operators after receiving busy signals several times.
One operator on duty last night said the problem was limited to the Harvard telephone network. A spokesperson at New England Telephone said he did not receive any complaints about long distance service in the Cambridge area.
Students wishing to make long distance calls were forced to use either credit card or collect call services, which remained functional.
The lapse in long distance service frustrated many students who had urgent calls to make. The service problem even forced the cancellation of the Radcliffe Phone-a-Thon, a fundraising campaign.
Because no calls outside the eastern Massachusetts area code were going through, the volunteers were sent home early and the fundraiser was postponed, according to Phone-a-Thon helper Kathryn M. Meneely '97.
Other students said they had similar experiences. "I was trying to call my parents and it was extremely important. Things like this cause serious problems," said Ryan M. Gainor '94.
Christa M. Calagione '97 said she was also annoyed. "I was trying to call my boyfriend, because I knew I was going to be away this weekend and wouldn't be able to talk to him," she said. "I called the operator and told him my PAC code was not working and he got mad at me."