A computer connected to an ISDN switch via an ISDN digital subscriber line, has shared cell appearances with a number of telephone stations connected to the switch and on the basis of shared call appearance associated messages from the switch, controls the forwarding of calls directed to the stations with which it has a shared call appearance. The associated messages are interpreted by the computer, which generates station status information. The computer responds to messages associated with predefined ones of the stations to select an alternate destination for the call and to transmit ISDN messages to the switch to cause the call to be forwarded to the selected alternate destination. Calls may be forwarded depending on call type, called number or other criteria. The computer responds to calls forwarded to it in the event that an associated station is busy and connects a holding party to the principal phone when the principal phone is no longer busy. The computer may be connected simultaneously to several ISDN switches via ISDN subscriber lines to receive shared call appearance associated messages from the several switching systems and forward calls for a telephone station connected to one switch, to a telephone station connected to another switch.
In order to handle voice message recording, an ISDN line shares the directory numbers of the analog lines connecting a switch to a message recording system. The ISDN line then receives all messages destined for the lines connected to the message switch. The ISDN line is connected to an interface for converting between ISDN messages and data messages for controlling the message recording system. Avdantageously, this permits an ISDN switch to provide an inexpensive interface to a voice message system.