Software Blamed for Voicemail Misdelivery

[8 Nov. 95] Bell Atlantic reported that its voicemail system, Answer Call, had indeed routed messages to the wrong mailboxes and attributed the problem to new software in its Arlington, Virginia voice mail center, according to a Washington Post article by Mike Mills on November 8. The problem was originally reported by the Post on Oct. 31; at that time Bell Atlantic reported that the problem was corrected when they rebooted the system. Although the original report carried an estimate that such errors were "a one in a million shot," the system has, in fact, 1.5 million subscribers, and the original article triggered eight additional reports of similar malfunctions from Northern Virginia residents. A church organist reported receiving several messages intended for others over a period of a month, including one from a defense contractor detailing plans to bid on a federal project. In the November 8 article, Paul Miller of Bell Atlantic reported that the problems occurred when new software at the Arlington voice mail center "reacted poorly" with another program that checks to make sure voice messages are correctly routed. He said that the source of the problem had been identified and corrected.