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Re: Note from a satisfied customer

  On Fri, 15 Mar 1996, Bill Frezza wrote:
  > My basic monthly charge for ISDN, including two phone numbers, is $27.35.
  > Aside from a one time activation fee of $165, there is also an ISDN usage
  > charge of 2 cents per minute per "B" channel, or  half that between 7p.m.
  > and 7a.m..  At that rate, I could surf the net for 29 hours per month and
  > still pay less than I used to for analog service. 
        In most Bell Atlantic areas, the ISDN upgrade is $19.50, plus the
  POTS rate, plus the $125 install, and the per minute charges.  Under the
  Bell Atlantic tariffs, people economize on the fees by using a single B
  channel, which then gives people half the bandwidth the technology can
  deliver.  If you hold it down to one B channel, and use the service less
  than 30 hours per month, as Bill implies he will (about 1 hour per day),
  then the rate will be the $27 - $34 per month fixed fee, plus the $.60 to
  $1.20 per hour for using the single B channel, or an additional $17.40 to
  $34.80 per month, depending upon time of day. Apparently not beyond Bill's
     Our interest in ISDN pricing is for what the service can deliver, if
  broadly deployed.  We think that with broad deployment of a reasonably
  priced service, used full bore (both B channels), you might see a new
  generation of information products offered.  For example, the daily
  newspaper, in a Digital Ink type format (the Wash Post product), would
  begin to look good over over 2B ISDN connections, as compared to the
  terrible product it is over a modem.  I think that much higher quality
  internet radio broadcasting begins to become interesting, as does two-way
  vidoe conferencing, over telephone connections, plus lots of other things. 
  Telecommuting too. 
      So what is the right number of ISDN usage hours for a public policy
  analysis?  I think that 29 hours per month, Frizza's number, is too low. 
  However, if the 29 hours was used full bore, at 2B, the per minute charges
  would be between $34.80 and $69.60, depending upon time of day, plus the
  other fees.  (wait till you see the bill, Bill, the fixed monthly fees
  will look higher than the $27 you quoted.)  Cost of an ISDN line, for 
  local calls would be $70 to $100 per month.
       What would 100 hours of 2B+D cost under the BA tariff?  That is, what
  if the line was used for the things that the technology is supposed to
  deliver?  It would cost about $198 for local calls. What about a "nailed
  up" line? Like for the parent who runs a web page off a home computer for 
  our elementry school.  About $1,200. 
     Now, in the Delaware ISDN proceeding, the PSC Staff yesterday
  reportedly wanted to cap Bell Atlantic per minute usage fees at $1.60 per
  month, based upon what is known about the actual costs of the service. 
     What does Bell Atlantic charge for business ISDN centrex service in the
  DC area?  Apparently about $38 per month, plus 9.5 cents per call.  Are
  residential consumers being ripped off?  Yes.  Should the PUCs protect
  consumers?  CPT says yes. 
  James Love / love@tap.org / P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
  Voice: 202/387-8030; Fax 202/234-5176
  Center for Study of Responsive Law
     Consumer Project on Technology; http://www.essential.org/cpt
     Taxpayer Assets Project; http://www.essential.org/tap