Alternatives to DSL or Cable for high(er) speed internet access

In our area, many of us are farther away than the 18,000 feet limit to the central phone office so we can’t use DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) for internet access. Unfortunately, in many cases the same people cannot obtain cable service for internet either. Here are a couple alternatives to think about:

Integrated Systems Digital Network ISDN

This is delivered over a conventional home phone line. A single ISDN contains two channels, each is 56KB. Runs something like $40.00 per month, plus $25.00 usage charge per channel (capped at $25.00) per channel. Worst case, then would be $90.00 per month. I think I’d start with single channel and see how it goes. While it is “dial-up” it

connects almost instantaneously. Since it isn’t “always on” it is more secure than a fixed internet connection. . It can be shared with multiple computes and users. Although the rated speed for a single channel sounds similar to a single modem, the fact that it connects quickly, and that it is a digital service, (there is no digital/analog conversion) increases the effective speed.

ISDN can also be used for multiple phone lines. If you get ISDN, you’ll get one or two additional phone numbers which can be used for pretty much anything, including voice or fax or teleconferencing. You can talk on one channel while surfing on the other. Very versatile, even though the phone co. doesn’t want to admit it.

ISDN is available from the local phone company, and may be available from competitors as well.


iDSL = synthetic DSL provisioned over an ISDN line.

This uses a using a dedicated “nailed up” ISDN connection which is always connected. turned on. I recently ran into a small business that uses this and pays $125.00 per month for 2 inbound phone numbers plus an 800 number assigned to one number, plus his internet access. Again, speed would be either 56KB or 128KB.

Fixed Wireless.

This is a high-speed terrestrial (as opposed to satellite) wireless link.

Like satellite, it can be susceptible to environmental problems (leaves on trees).

Frame Relay

56KB digital. $114.00 per month.

Another service that is not subject to the 18,000 foot distance limitation. This is a digital service, available in various speed increments.

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