It took me a lot of phone calls with AT&T technical support to try and figure out what the problem was with my 800 number however I finally got the correct answer. I wanted to post this information so hopefully if anyone else runs into this issue they will be able to get the correct quickly by locating this post.
The issue was fairly simple that involved the ATT 800 number we were using. We purchased the 800 number to use for customers outside of our default locations to be able to use this toll free number to dial into our dial up ISP which doesn’t have numbers outside of a certain state. So needless to say we needed the toll free number to allow unlimited connections or at the bery least multiple connections without going busy which we assumed would be the case since the number it was forwarded to allowed unlimited connections. After using the toll free number for a short amount of time we realized that the number would go busy after one device was dialed in or one connection.
History has proven that telecommunications companies love to merge, split apart, section off their company, etc. In this scenario the 800 number was purchased from a sales rep in the South where ATT had merged with Bellsouth for various services. So unknowingly we had purchased the 800 number from the ATT and Bellsouth merged portion of the company. The issue here is the fact that ATT will only allow one connection to this 800 number unless the number it is forwarded to happens to be an ATT or Bellsouth number. They do this so they can make more money from the customers because if the number was forwarded outside of their network they would be required to pay connections charges to connect to other telecommunication company networks.
I was told by ATT technical support that if I purchased a Legacy ATT network toll free number than it would probably allow for multiple connections. The great part about this for me was I was already speaking with what I thought was ATT technical support. It starts to get really annoying when a company sends you around various technical support or sales numbers in an endless loop to solve such a simple problem. Needless to say we are getting rid of the ATT service to get a toll free number from another company.
So the end result is if you are purchasing a toll free number to forward to a dial up ISP make sure you understand the details regarding the number of connections the toll free number will allow. We don’t have a ton of people dialing into this toll free number so we ended up going with a much cheaper solution than ATT which allows for up to 16 simultaneous connections.