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Delaware ISDN (fwd)

  I am attaching a plain text copy of the testimony I gave at the PSC Public
  Comment Session.
                     -Stewart Dickson
                      4808 Hogan Drive
                      Wilmington, DE  19808
                      January 18, 1996
  I am a professional, visual artist  and  a  technical  expert  in
  telephony and computer networks.
  Bell Atlantic's current ISDN tariff for the State of Delaware  is
  in  violation  of the principle of universal access as guaranteed
  by  the  Communications  Act  of  1934.   Bell  Atlantic's  anti-
  competitive  pricing  widens  the  gap  between the technological
  "haves"  on  the  National  Information  Infrastructure  and  the
  "have-nots" who cannot afford to get on-line.
  High pricing  discourages  the  exploration  and  development  of
  electronic commerce by small businesses in the State of Delaware,
  when consumers cannot afford to get  on-line.   Small  businesses
  are  going  to  employ  more  people  in Delaware than is a giant
  communications corporation.
  Competitive  pricing  of  high-speed  data  communications  could
  promote  telecommuting  from  offices  in the home, and alleviate
  automobile congestion on Delaware's streets and highways.
  Pricing ISDN service by the minute does not reflect the real cost
  of  providing  the wire connection and the switching service.  In
  fact, there are technical reasons*  why  pricing  by  the  minute
  could   actually   consume  more  of  Bell  Atlantic's  switching
  resources than flat-rate pricing would.  Flat-rate pricing  could
  actually  reduce  the  cost  to  Bell  Atlantic of providing ISDN
  service.  I can support this claim from my own experience.
  I have been an ISDN user since March,  1995.   In  June,  1995  I
  relocated  from  Thousand  Oaks,  California  to  the  Pike Creek
  Valley, Delaware.  Somehow, GTE California can wire  its  service
  area,  many  times  larger  -  both in population and in miles of
  wiring - than the entire state of Delaware, and  provide  two  B-
  channels  of  ISDN service for a flat rate of forty-one dollars a
  In Delaware, in six months, I have paid Bell Atlantic more than I
  would  have paid for five years of service in California.  I have
  paid this for a local telephone call  covering  eleven  miles  of
  distance  - from the Pike Creek Valley to Wilmington.  And I have
  received for my money half the data transmission speed I  had  in
  California.   In  Delaware, only one B-channel is more than I can
  reasonably afford.
  I think this is unfortunate, because I believe  I  have  valuable
  information  to  provide to the public.  I am the originator of a
  technique to  create  physical  sculpture  of  computer-generated
  - called "Scientific Visualization" using direct, 3-D  mechanical
  printers.   I  can  bring  computer  pictures out from behind the
  screen and allow you to hold them in your hands.
  I can let a person experience computer graphics, for whom  images
  on  a  cathode-ray tube provide no information.  These people are
  the blind  and  those  with  cognitive  disabilities.   Networked
  computers  can  provide this experience.  No television will ever
  to this.  No corporation has done this.  It took the  efforts  of
  an individual on an individual's budget to do this.  The Internet
  is a collective of somewhere over four million individuals.
  The Internet is like  truly  democratic,  multimedia  publishing.
  The  Internet is currently "owned" by everyone and every Internet
  site is its own information center.  On the Internet, the "media"
  is not "them", it is "us".
  Letting the Internet fall into  the  hands  of  a  communications
  giant will turn it into the same old "us" and "them" situation we
  have in our current print and electronic media.  In the Internet,
  we  have  a  chance  to build a future world which is better than
  past worlds.  Flat-rate pricing for  local  telephone  connection
  will promote this.
                      Respectfully Submitted,
                      Stewart Dickson
  The best way to use ISDN service for personal data  communication
  is currently to use an Internetwork packet router, like an Ascend
  Communications Pipeline series product.  An  internetwork  router
  is  a bridge between a user's Local-Area Network (LAN) (typically
  an Ethernet, which may consist  of  a  single  computer  and  the
  router)  and  the  Wide-Area Network (WAN) (this is typically the
  first-hop connection to  the  user's  up-stream  Internet  Access
  The time required to connect an ISDN call is very short.   It  is
  imperceptible  to  the  user  of a desktop, Internet application,
  like a World-Wide Web browser  (e.g.,  Netscape  Navigator,  NCSA
  Mosaic,   etc.).    The   Ascend  Pipeline  50  has  features  to
  automatically  connect  a  call  when  the  LAN  requests  packet
  to the  WAN.   Similarly,  the  Pipeline  50  also  has  a  user-
  configurable  timer,  which  governs  how  long  the  router will
  maintain the ISDN call after the last packet has been transmitted
  or  received.  After this time has expired, the router "hangs up"
  the call and waits for the next packet to originate from the LAN.
  In a telephone economy in which money is charged  per  minute  of
  connection,  the information consumer can set the router time-out
  very  short,  to  save  money  when  the  user  is  not  actively
  transmitting.   In a situation which is billed by the minute, the
  Internet Access Provider will never originate a call to  the  end
  user, even to transact electronic mail, because the Provider will
  incur a per-usage cost, while he  is  most  likely  charging  his
  customer a flat monthly rate.
  Even though modern  electronic  mail  uses  a  direct  sender-to-
  receiver  transfer  protocol  (SMTP),  Internet  Access Providers
  often revert to the old store-and-forward approach  in  order  to
  provide  a  service  without  incurring  per-use  cost  from  the
  telephone company.
  If an end-user wishes to serve information to the  Internet  from
  his  home  computer,  an  economy which bills per minute does not
  work.  When the Access Provider's router  receives  packets  from
  the  Internet  destined for the end-user, the end-user's computer
  and the information he means to publicly serve,  are  simply  not
  available.   If  the end-user wishes to be available, he must set
  his router so that a call  is  always  connected,  regardless  of
  whether or not data is flowing.
  In a flat-rate ISDN telephone  economy,  it  costs  the  Internet
  Access  Provider  nothing extra to originate calls to an end-user
  when requests from the Internet are made to the user.  Calls  can
  be  set  up on request in either direction and terminated minutes
  after the data flow stops.  A consumer's virtual data  connection
  will  not  consume  switching  channels  when no data is actually
  flowing.  I believe this scheme actually uses less of a telephone
  company's resources than a scheme which bills for time.
  Reference: http://www.mathart.com
  Attachments:  Professional Resume of Stewart Dickson
                      Stewart Dickson
                      4808 Hogan Drive
                      Wilmington, DE  19808
                      February 20, 1996
  Bell Atlantic
  Payment Department
  P.O. Box 646
  Wilmington, DE  19896-0001
  Dear Sirs:
  I have received from Bell Atlantic a disconnect notice  regarding
  my  account  number  302  369-2050 983 - an ISDN circuit which is
  connected to my place of residence at the above address.
  This connection has been the portal into my  Internet  World-Wide
  Web site, http://www.mathart.com since August, 1995.  The content
  I have been presenting here is unique, educational and I  believe
  has value.  My site has been rated in Point Communications Top 5%
  of all Internet sites.   My  site  is  a  Pavilion  of  the  1996
  Internet  World  Expo,  being  held  by the Internet Multicasting
  Service.  I have  been  attempting  to  support  this  site  with
  commercial  ventures,  and  other  sources  of  funding.   I have
  I can no longer afford to maintain this  telecommunication  link.
  I  have  written  letters  to  the  Bell  Atlantic ISDN Sales and
  Technology Center, the Delaware Public  Service  Commission,  the
  Office  of the Public Advocate and my upstream Internet provider,
  Performance Systems International -  protesting  Bell  Atlantic's
  pricing  policy  of  charging for ISDN by the minute of use for a
  local connection.  This protest has proven futile.
  I bought my ISDN internetwork routing hardware when  I  lived  in
  the  GTE California LATA, which did not charge for usage time.  I
  protest the regional monopoly which can set  prices  in  such  an
  arbitrary   manner.   I  protest  the  cost  of  high-speed  data
  communication.  The reality of which is so  far  askew  from  the
  vision  of  telecommunication  Bell  Atlantic  is  selling in its
  public advertizing.
  The turn of events can only mean that the value  of  my  work  is
  obviously  insufficient  to justify its existence.  My life is my
  work.  My work is dying.  You are killing  me  with  it.   As  of
  February 26, 1996 my voice will be silenced.
                      Stewart Dickson
  Stewart Dickson                                   VOX (302) 731-2718
  dickson@mathart.com                               FAX (302) 731-7482
  http://mathart.com              http://www.wri.com/~mathart (mirror)