New York City’s public Internet service providers are scrambling to address an unprecedented spike in calls to their mobile and Web services as customers increasingly rely on them to send text messages and send voice calls.
Some have been scrambling to get their services up and running as quickly as possible.
Others are still trying to determine whether they can maintain their business model.
“There’s an urgent need for service providers to do a better job of communicating with their customers and getting their services back online,” said Tom White, a professor of computer science at the University of Chicago and an expert in data privacy and encryption.
“They’ve got to figure out what their options are in terms of how to do that in a way that works for their customers, but also works for themselves.”
Public Internet service provider TalkTalk has struggled to get up and operating in New York, but it is now able to offer text messaging and voice calling services on its service, which includes over 3,000 service providers, mostly in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
“We’re working with all of the providers to get it going as quickly and smoothly as possible,” said TalkTalk CEO John Mulligan.
“And we have no doubt that we’ll be able to get back to normal service once we’re back up and working.”
He did not say how long it would take for the public carriers to roll out their services.
New York’s public ISPs have had to work for years to get online, but that hasn’t stopped them from having trouble.
According to a study by the Center for Democracy and Technology, between 2008 and 2016, the average number of calls per day to AT&T, Comcast, Charter Communications, CenturyLink, Comcast Xfinity, and Verizon Wireless more than doubled, from 3,400 to 16,900.
In the first six months of 2017, calls to Verizon Wireless grew by almost a third, from 2,600 to 7,800, while AT&Ts calls dropped by nearly half.
“In other words, we’re seeing this growth in the volume of traffic,” Mulligan said.
“The companies are taking it very seriously.”
AT&ts first public internet service came online in October 2016.
After months of trials, AT&t started offering free Wi-Fi for residents in the city, which it says has helped to cut down on congestion.
The company also expanded its public internet to all customers and is working with other carriers to extend service to more people.
On Tuesday, AT &ts announced that it will begin offering free Internet access to customers for two months starting July 30, 2018.
In a statement, the company said that customers will be able use their phone numbers to log in to the company’s public Wi-fi network.
The announcement came just a few days after Comcast announced it would also begin offering Internet to customers, and while it did not give a timeline for the service, it said it would roll out service to customers in July.
The public internet providers have struggled to make it to a point where they can meet demand for their services, which are generally more expensive than their fixed-line competitors.
While most of the service providers say they are doing a better jobs of communicating and customer service, there are some who say they have been unable to get to grips with how their services are being used by their customers.
Some are taking drastic steps, like closing some services, or switching to an entirely different service model.
In addition to being able to pay for the phone service, Comcast and AT&s offer a variety of ways to make money online, such as advertising and sponsored content, according to White.
He said that he does not believe these changes will necessarily be enough to overcome the problems, and that there is room for more innovation in the service.
“What the public internet is going to need to do is figure out a way to make their service more reliable, more secure, more profitable, more reliable to use,” White said.