Re: ISDN

Mike Baranowski (mhb@netcom.com)
Sat, 23 Nov 1996 12:41:52 -0600


>I am getting ready to launch a new service to my customers using desktop
>videoconferencing so I have been checking out software, equip. etc. I
>saw a newspaper article where PacBell announced a new service at Comdex
>where they combine ISDN services. For $500 you get a modem, installation
[snip]

Depends where you are, what the PUC has mandated, and how knowledgeable you
are.

ISDN rates vary from state to state, even if the carrier operates out of
multiple states. Here in Austin, it costs $200 for the install and about
$65 per month. The $200 can be waived if you sign a 2-year contract. The
install is not as 'cut-and-dry' as installing a POTS (Plain Old Telephone
Service/analog) line. The line may require additional conditioning for the
digital signal in the line from the CO (Central Office) to you.. Plus,
additional hardware may be required at your local CO. The monthly charge
here is for UNLIMITED use. I heard that others states are metered, meaning
you PAY for actual usage to your telco. Yes, it too way too long to get
ISDN in actual fully deployed use. It wasn't only the telco's fault. It
was the public understanding the FULL capabilities and benefits of ISDN.
Now for the competition. Since competition is now available, the
providers/telcos can't count on the consumer to use the service for 5+
years, like it used to be. They have to change their amortization
schedules to account for shorter terms. Think about it! Don't blame the
telco's for the pricing. It's the result new laws(competition) and the
charge for the switches. (I've been using ISDN at work since 1988.)

Some of the ISDN routers/modems do contain ORDERING Codes which is supposed
to simplify ordering the ISDN line (as it comes in many flavors), but your
local telco may not know about the ORDER code scheme.

Even though the manufactures make every attempt to simply the installation,
there is still some underlying (technical) configuration parameters, which
you may need to get into yourself. I wont go into detail here as to what
they are, but just be forewarned that it isn't as easy as plugging in a
analog modem and dialing a number.

Want more information? Check out the Bryce's ISDN book, published by QUE.
(http://www.bryce.com) His page also links to Dan Kegel's excellent ISDN
page, http://alumni.caltech.edu/%7Edank/isdn.

If you are up to it, check out the pages, read the book, order your own
ISDN, select your ISP, and configure your own computer. In Austin, I would
pay around $250 for the ISDN modem, and $200 for the ISDN install (no
contract) and possibly an account creation charge with the local ISP ($25).
That's $475, but I have to do all the local configuring on the computer.

-Mike Baranowski
aka Jeeves