Internet call-waiting service ramps up

It’s an irritant specific to Internet technology circa 1999: Dial-up users with only one phone line are forced to miss incoming calls while surfing the Web.

A new technology developed by Canadian start-up InfoInteractive promises to alleviate the problem — to a degree. Internet Call Manager provides dial-up users with on-screen notification of incoming telephone calls, and gives them the option of disconnecting from the Internet to take the call.

Earlier this month, Internet service provider Internet Direct announced a partnership with Halifax-based InfoInteractive to offer the service to its national subscribers for an additional $4.95 per month. Internet Direct plans to offer an initial 30-day free trial to customers when it launches the service in the third quarter.

Internet Call Manager (ICM) is available currently from InfoInteractive’s Canadian telecom partners, which include BCT.Telus, MTT and Island Tel. The service can also be ordered directly from InfoInteractive, via the company’s Web site at

In addition, InfoInteractive has a partnership with U.S.-based GTE Corp. to offer the service to North American subscribers via the GTE Internet service. Last month, GTE and Prodigy expanded the program to offer the ICM service to any Internet user — regardless of his or her service provider — and added new Caller ID functions.