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Re: "ISDN Tariff Trick" -Reply

  At 08:43 PM 10/31/96 -0500, James Love wrote:
  >I would caution people that if they are doing something with setting the 
  >data bit to voice when they are using data, don't brag about if on this 
  >list, unless you want to face some retaliation by the RBOC.
  >The RBOCs are monitoring this list.  jamie
  Not to worry.
  I've been getting a torrent of harrassing mail today from somebody who reads
  the list.  He's anonymous, hiding under an AOL screen name.
  Anyway, as I explained to him, there's nothing illegal about DOSBS.  The
  Virginia tariff, which is probably illegal on its face and in any case
  unenforceable, ostensibly allows BA to charge data rates for data calls
  originated as voice.  That's as far as it goes.  The reality is that some
  telcos are talking to some manufacturers (I have this on deep background,
  if you get my drift) about selling them digital distortion circuitry to
  mung up the bits, so that DOSBS won't work.  Of course neither will the
  USR, Lucent or Rockwell 56k modems, so the opposition will be, uh, strong.
  NYNEX knows we use DOSBS here.  I told 'em so.  We sometimes order ISDN
  lines with "1 voice 0 data" and attach Ascend or Gandalf routers or bridges.  
  NYNEX has two main problems in their ISDN tariff.  One is that DOSBS is
  *totally* unlimited, so there are "nailed" users.  They don't like that;
  they might stick a threshold limit on ISDN "voice" calling.  Personally I
  think it's a very reasonable idea, if in the 200 hour range.  The other is
  that the
  tariff has no "EZ-ISDN" or similar packages, so ordering is complex "a la
  carte", not packaged for "flow through" processing.  The tariff, though,
  is "compensatory", even with DOSBS, except for the nailed users.  
  Their other problems with ISDN are those of demand.  It's selling well.
  Lots of people want it at the current rates, and they can't train installers
  enough to keep up.  Thus the late deliveries, etc.  But they never give me
  grief about DOSBS in general.  They don't exactly promote it, but they
  know it sells.  (Why else would I pay $20 extra for the Metropolitan Service
  package, which only applies to voice?  If it weren't for being able to use
  it on ISDN, I'd probably be using a modem.  And the truth is that like most
  people, my call volume is low enough that I might even come out ahead on
  "measured", but I'd rather pre-pay for a flat rate plan than think about it.)
  Some folks have a problem with this, because they live under the assumption
  that telco has what mediaevals called a "franchise" or "staple".  That's the
  right to the revenue, no matter who does the work.  The Post Office's Private
  Express statutes are a rare vestige of this; they can technically charge you
  32 cents for mailing a non-urgent letter via FedEx.  In the ham radio world,
  there are a few anal-retentive types who think that you can't use a phone
  patch from your car if your car is parked outside of the local calling area,
  lest you be using the autopatch to deprive "the phone company" of their
  toll revenue!  (Today, who's the phone company?)
  DOSBS is the same way.  It's taking the 3.1 kHz audio bearer capability and
  stretching it to its limit, which is 56k on an ISDN line.  (Of course it'll
  be 56k in one direction on some high-quality POTS lines soon.)  Telco makes
  no guarantees that it works.  But then, they don't guarantee modems either,
  at least not beyond 2400 bps.  I pay the $8 surcharge to make a line digital, 
  and I take advantage of the superior transmission quality on "voice" calls!
  That's what DOSBS is, and that's why every major US ISDN vendor supports it.
  Nothing for the user to be ashamed of.  Nothing to hide.  It's a silly
  artifact of silly tariffs, and the telcos sort of know it, but it's not a
  big problem for them.  Maybe Bell Atlantic, since they seem to have a
  corporate personality disorder.  But I doubt GTE, and I certainly doubt
  NYNEX, whose problems are more of their technical abilities (inadequate
  staffing) and backward facilities, not of outward hostility to users.
  Fred R. Goldstein     k1io    fgoldstein@bbn.com   +1 617 873 3850
  Opinions are mine alone.  Sharing requires permission.