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One of the first telephone features to be added was call waiting, which allows another call to be accessed while an active one is placed on hold.
In North America, phone subscribers are notified that they have a call waiting by a beep every ten seconds. The subscriber can then choose to hang up the first call and take the second or tell the first caller to hold while asking the second to call back when the first call is finished. For many, this service made the use of a second line unnecessary resulting in a net cost savings.
Call waiting can be a problem if you have dial-up Internet services as it causes the Internet connection to be dropped. Dialing *70 before connecting to the Internet will disable call waiting or you can subscribe to an Internet call waiting service.