Barry said she has been planning for a pandemic for six months and recently attended two conferences where the topic was addressed. The authority's CEO also attended one of the events.
One thorny issue, Barry said, is that even if workers have appropriate broadband connectivity and good PCs to use at home, they probably won't be as productive as usual if they are sick or involved in caring for someone else who is ill.
Lawrence Robert, director of business continuity at a large financial services firm based in New England, said his company, which he asked not be named, has begun expanding its business continuity planning to include a possible pandemic.
The company is brainstorming disaster scenarios internally and sending detailed questionnaires to its telecommunications carriers seeking assurances that they will be able to handle network loads in residential areas efficiently and securely if a pandemic occurs, said Robert, who is a director of the 1,200-member New England Disaster Recovery Information X-change.
Some carriers have said that if they sign up broadband customers who need to work from home in advance of a pandemic, they should have enough network capacity for them in the event of quarantines.