DSL carriers seek free phone-wire use
- By Tim Greene
- Apr 21, 2000
It looks probable that the cost of setting up DSL circuits will drop, thanks
to technology known as line sharing.
Digital subscriber line carrier Rhythms NetConnections has cut an interim
deal to use US West phone lines for free when Rhythms sets up DSL phone
services in any of the 14 states in US West territory.
Although that deal is eye-popping, other carriers have agreed to pay US
West $5.40 per month as the interim price, about one-quarter of the $20
to $25 competitive local exchange carriers (CLEC) pay to use phone lines
owned by regional Bell operating companies (RBOC).
That's a significant saving on a service that retails for about $60 per
month, so carriers could pass the savings on to customers. Whether they
will is still up in the air because the final cost of line sharing has not
Line sharing is the practice of one carrier running high-speed DSL service
on a phone line while a second carrier supplies regular phone service on
the same line. CLECs argue that because the lines are already in place and
DSL doesn't disrupt the phone service, it costs RBOCs nothing to share the
line, so CLECs should pay nothing.
State regulators nationwide are holding hearings to determine what the actual
costs are to RBOCs and to set a price in each state that RBOCs are allowed
Low-cost line sharing should encourage more aggressive DSL deployment because
it is a dramatic improvement in the business case for DSL CLECs, according
to The Strategis Group, a network analysis firm in Washington, D.C.
The Rhythms/US West agreement is more symbolic than concrete because, though
the companies have agreed to the price, they have not agreed to how they
will carry out line sharing.