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Network Congestion

  Dave, you have posted several messages about network congestion which 
  report the local exchange carrier's line that computer users are imposing 
  large costs on the network.  There is much reason to be skeptical of 
  such claims.  One reason is that ISPs have very few lines per customer -- 
  most ISP's have 10 to 20 residential customers per incoming line.
  Thus, it is unlikely that dial-in ISP users are exceeding the normal
  demands for network build-out.  This is a portion of our testimony
  on this topic in the Maryland PSC proceeding.  jamie
  In the Matter of the Residential   )
  Intellilinq BRI Service Offering   )  Case 8730
  of Bell Atlantic, Maryland, Inc.   )
                October 15, 1996
                on behalf of
  Q13.	What about network congestion? 
  A13.	There is no evidence that ISDN is causing any 
  network congestion.  Nor is there much evidence that 
  personal computers are causing network congestion.  
  While it may be the case that lines for Internet 
  Service Providers (ISPs) are used heavily at certain 
  times of the day, it does not follow that 
  residential users are causing problems.
  		Telephone networks are fixed cost plants.  
  The cost of the network is determined by the build-out 
  at any given time, regardless of usage.  The only 
  "usage" cost is based upon the "build-out" for peak 
  usage. The residential network is built according to 
  certain assumptions regarding usage.  The important 
  issue is the proper "capacity" for the system. 
  People who use the Internet as dial-in users don't 
  dial in all at once.  They just don't.  People have 
  complicated lives.  They eat, sleep, go to school, 
  go to the movies, play with their children, and do 
  other things which don't involve the Internet.  
  		What do we know about Internet usage?  We know 
  that ISPs do not have one line per customer.  They 
  have far less than one line.  According to responses 
  from ISPs, most firms have between 10 and 20 
  customers per incoming line.  That means simply that 
  only 5 to 10 percent of their customers can be using 
  the service at any given time.  If ISPs only have 
  one line for every 10 to 20 customers, then BA has 
  to show that the residential network is build for 
  less than 5 to 10 percent of the customers to be 
  connected at one time.  If they can't show that, 
  then they do not have a case for charging for usage.
  Q14.	What about congestion at the ISPs?
  A14.	ISPs, like other businesses, may use lines 
  intensely.  That isn't necessarily bad for BA,  
  because BA is selling telecommunications services to 
  the people who make the incoming calls.  For 
  example, BA is promoting the sale of second 
  telephone lines.  These POTS lines do not generate 
  much in long distance revenue.  They are used mostly 
  for teenagers, modems and faxes.  When BA sells an 
  apparently profitable POTS line so a consumer can 
  call an ISP, BA is making money on the sale of the 
  residential POTS line.  If the residential consumer 
  could not call an ISP, many consumers wouldn't need 
  the second POTS line.  The ISP is generating a 
  demand for something that BA sells--residential 
  Q15.	Should ISP's pay higher fees? 
  A15.	BA has a practical monopoly in the residential 
  market, and they are also an active ISP.  You can't 
  allow BA to discriminate against their rivals in the 
  ISP business.  Lots of businesses make intensive use 
  of their lines.  Our organization has a PBX, and it 
  is often congested during the day.  ISP's should pay 
  the same rates as other businesses pay for their 
  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.tap.org