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Re: IP: Pac Bell says Net use may collapse phone system

  Concerning San Jose Mercury News Article Published: Oct. 24, 1996 BY HOWARD
  Its obvious to me that whatever "ISP Executive" Howard Bryant talked to knows
  as much about how the phone system works as most ISPs (ie not more than how to
  order some phone lines and T1s... of course Telcos know even less about the
  Internet :-)
  The core of what Pac Bell claims is true: On a dialup system (i.e. the phone
  network that your phones are connected to) there is limited switching capacity
  (the multi-million dollar 5ESS or DMS-100s in most Central Offices) and
  trunking capacity (the bandwidth capacity between Central Office Switches).
  The ratio of lines from homes/offices to switching/trunking capacity has been
  based on a long history of calls being used for voice that last only a few
  minutes on average. The ratio has traditionally been very high (many more lines
  to switching/trunking capacity). Adding more swtiching and trunking capacity is
  very expensive compared to the cost of adding more lines.
  When a large number of lines start having phone calls that last significantly
  longer than a few minutes radically shift the required ratio of lines to
  switching/trunking. To keep phone service ready and realiable (ie the amount of
  time it takes from when you pick up a phone to when you get dialtone or to not
  get a fast busy signal when you dial), the phone company would have to ether do
  SIGNIFICANT buildout of switches and trunking OR (and this was not discussed in
  the article or probably the press release) develop a system to have calls
  destined for on-line services / internet services BYPASS the traditional
  switches and trunks.
  Now don't get me wrong, I am not a cheerleader for the Phone
  companies. I said that the core of what Pac Bell said is true, but I stongly
  disagree on that raising access fees and tarrifs are not the right way to
  deliver a solution to the demand for  lots of long connections to the Internet!
  The proper approach is the one that phone companies should be pushed to do. The
  RBOCS have already put out a Request for Quote on such systems. Nortel has been
  the first to respond
  but there are many other companies gearing up to address this problem.
  In fact, several of the solutions being proposed would integrate xDSL services
  into the solution. This means that the RBOCs could fix their switch/trunk
  overload problem AND deploy xDSL on a faster track at costs MUCH LOWER and
  performance much higher than by building more switching and trunking capacity.
  [xDSL is a family of proposed services (ADSL, HDSL, SDSL, VDSL) that use the
  same copper wire from your house to the Central Office as your phone, but
  instead it connects to a special hardware that routes normal phone calls to the
  traditional switch and data traffic can go right to a dedicated high speed
  backbone. In fact it can carry data at rates significantly higher than ISDN,
  from 384kbps to as much as 6Mbps]
  This means that there is NO NEED TO CHARGE ACCESS FEES TO ISPs (unless they
  insist on using dialup when there are bypass services in place). Some say that
  instead of charging enhanced service providers, they should just drop the
  access fess for everyone, but thats another story.
  There should not be any special tarrifs to build the bypass / xDSL / high
  bandwidth backbone. That will be payed for by appropriate market based pricing
  for those services themseleves. The Phone Companies do need to learn that huge
  demand is not a problem that should be stamped out by raising prices, but by
  using appropriate technology to deliver a solution and increasing their market
  share. The huge switch based phone system infrastructure is in the same place
  as the Mainframe was. We now have more computing power than ever at lower costs
  and in a distributed manor. The phone companies should be planning for the same
   By the way, the fact that a phone company is adding many more lines does not
  show that they are increasing the switching capacity as under the traditional
  ratios they can easily add more lines and have very minor impact on the
  switching capacity.
  If concerned citizens want to have lower cost, higher performance long connect
  times to the Internet, they should encourage the Phone Companies and PUCs to
  quickly deploy the bypass concept and eventually, xDSL.
                   Robert J. Berger - CTO / Founder
  InterNex Information Services, Inc. 2302 Walsh Rd. Santa Clara, CA 95051
                 Voice: 408-327-2290 Fax: 408-496-5484