Many companies and government agencies are counting on legions of teleworkers to keep their operations running in the event of an influenza pandemic. But those plans may quickly run aground as millions of people turn to the Internet for news and even entertainment, potentially producing a bandwidth-choking surge in online traffic. Businesses as well as home users likely would be asked to voluntarily restrict high-bandwidth traffic. Whether the avian flu will morph into a human pandemic is unclear. But if it does, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of deaths could result worldwide. To try to limit a pandemic’s spread, many people will seek to work from home, either voluntarily or under government quarantine orders.

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