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Newsgroups: comp.dcom.isdn
Subject: Re: When will GTE-California lower ISDN rates ?
From: (Fred R. Goldstein)
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 13:57:15 GMT

In article <6tp5o0$dd$0@>, says...
>Ken Brassner wrote in message <>...
>>One of the reasons that ADSL is so cheap is that the data equipment to
>>support it is very cheap. Voice switching equipment is very very pricey,
>>so putting ADSL in the areas that have the most unused copper and have
>>overcrowded voice equipment make it attractive to GTE. Remember no one
>>expected homes to have 2 or more POTS lines so offloading modem POTS
>>lines to ADSL lines saves money and delays expensive voice upgrades.

Yes, ADSL is very cheap.  Maybe what, a thousand bucks per port on a good-speed
DSLAM?  I've seen numbers half that, and some twice that, depending on speed.
Compare that very cheap one grand (maybe 5 year depreciation) with the price of
a "voice CO" switch.  Maybe $300-500/port, depending on configuration, etc.
Much too expensive.  Which is why they lose so much money providing basic POTS

ISDN typically costs around $100/port more than analog, capital expense-wise,
but that's after paying $150k-$1M to add the feature to the typical switch, so
if you only have a few dozen lines of ISDN, it's expensive per line.  In
Europe, they simply treated ISDN as a necessary feature of ALL recent CO
switches, so the cost of the upgrade (software development, mostly) was divided
among a large base, and the per-line cost is low, rumored to make it even
cheaper, in some cases, than analog.  American telcos have bought less, so the
same upgrade development cost is spread over fewer phones.  Still, most cost
studies say that ISDN costs $8-12/month more than analog to provide, net of
depreciation, etc.  Which is still cheaper than most ADSL.

>>Also the "commited information rate" for ADSL is very low-about 9600 baud
>>guarateed on a GTE 384k ADSL line...

Huh?  They'd sell very little ADSL with that low an effective rate.  Real
throughput is much better, but for the typical consumer, the server end or
the intermediate path is often the limiting factor nowadays.

>[ huge snip]

>Does ISDN use voice switching equiptment? (serious question) I ask this
>because I had to wait over a year for the local CO to be update for "digital
>access" which I assume is an addin card for the switch just like the
>"DSLAMs" (I dont exactly know what this is but it sounds like the addin card
>for xDSL at the CO).

ISDN is simply a different interface on a standard "voice" CO switch.  ADSL is
a separate system; the DSLAM is a separate box, in the same building and
sometimes sharing a wire pair but not at all electrically controlled by the
voice switch.  There is talk of a DSL line card in the CO switch itself, but it
would peel the ADSL off before the bits got to the main switching fabric.  So
you could put ADSL in a CO that had an electromechanical switch.

>... The larger *misunderstanding* on my part is why
>is ISDN charged (excessively ) for by the minute, doesnt xDSL use the same
>circuits in the telco as ISDN.

Price is often not related to cost.  Regulators and telcos have their own
agendas, which make the Russian economy look rational.

ISDN in some places is charged at parity with POTS.  It's just that some telcos
don't like their flat-rate POTS schemes, and can't get them changed, so
instead, they limit them to analog, and hold ISDN hostage to their
long-standing desire to have European-style highway robbery prices for local
calls.  After all, it costs them (typical cost study result) a quarter-penny a
minute to carry a local call; why shouldn't they charge a nickel a minute like
the Germans do?  Isn't a nickel closer to 0.25 than 0.00?  Hint: The average
caller makes maybe 10 hours of calls a month (ISDN averages are more like
30) and pays something above zero for the flat-rate service.

The regulatory climate in California is downright weird.  The whole price
scheme is rife with subsidies; analog POTS doesn't pay its own way, so they
need to make it up elsewhere.  This will fall apart with competition but the
PUCs and ILECs typically give that mostly lip service.  I think GTE-CA actually
wanted a flat-rate ISDN plan but the PUC doesn't want it, since PacBell
doesn't, and you can guess who controls more of the shots.
Fred R. Goldstein   k1io    fgoldstein"at"
GTE Internetworking - BBN Technologies, Cambridge MA USA  +1 617 873 3850
Opinions are mine alone; sharing requires permission.

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