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Let me begin by stating that I am long @Home (aprox 1100 shares) and am interested in how quickly and cost effectively (from a consumer's perspective) the RBOCs will provide to be in providing and pricing an ISDN alternative. In other words will the Bells be smart enough to quickly cannabilize their T1 accounts to protect a broader franchise status as the primary communications link for the last mile and thereby retain their status as the wholesaler/intermediary.

As a lawyer with an eight person staff in the Rosemont/DesPlaines, Illinois area (next to O'Hare Airport) I've just received a quote for Ameritech's pricing on its "ISDN DIRECT" product. That ISDN line will run $132.35 to install (plus time & material), an additional $40.86 a month per channel and usage fees of 4 cents for the first minute & 1.5 cents for each minute thereafter (or approximately 92.5 cents per hour). Delivery is now promised to me for February 19, 1999.

Ameritech is describing this in their promotional literature as a digital connection that is up to three times faster than a 56k modem-a full 128kbps. There is also a companion offer for a $195 discount on either one of two routers; Cisco's 776, (4 port ethernet) and Entre's Web Ramp, 4 port ethernet each at a net of $499 after the discount.

My general question is less a matter of whether this is a good deal or not since it's the only high speed access that is now available to me (I've already signed up and will pay as I am on line constantly and need quicker access). Rather, I am interested in hearing from others about whether they too would accept this service at this price. Also I would like to then determine how much more others would pay for @Home's even better service or if @Home needed a lesser price to justify switching to their service from an existing Ameritech ISDN line, how much less would it have to be?

1) If the RBOCs put these services into the market within the next year will anyone even look for an alternate service provider if what they have from the already have from the Bells is, "good enough". As a related subissue, what are the pricing points needed to break consumers/users from their RBOC ISDN use patterns?

2)What do other business owners and high use individuals feel about this product as a transitional stage toward letting your RBOC provide this type of service on a continuing basis? To me it seems a natural evolutionary progression for the RBOCs and despite being long @Home, I'm not particularly eager to switch provided that Ameritech gets me what I want now at a reasonable price and then follows up with improved xDSL as it becomes necessary.

3)Are there any RBOC personnel who follow this chat that can advise us of how quickly this type of access can be rolled out to existing subscribers?

4)By the way is the Cisco or the Entre a better choice?
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