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New offer for ISDN

Pacific Bell and Cisco Systems announced a deal to develop and sell ISDN Internet and remote access for small- and medium-sized businesses and telecommuters.

Pacific Bell and Cisco Systems announced a deal today to make ISDN high-speed Internet access easier to purchase for small- and medium-sized businesses and telecommuters in California.

The joint project would give users a single point of purchase for Cisco's ISDN routers--hardware boxes which connect computers to telephone lines and private data networks--and Pac Bell's existing FastTrak ISDN service.

Californians chomping at the bit for ISDN one-stop shopping will have to wait, however, as the bundle won't be available until the state Public Utility Commission makes a ruling on Pac Bell's proposed ISDN rate hikes. The company has proposed raising the monthly fee, currently about $25, by $8 and giving users 20 free off-peak hours. No ruling is expected until at least the end of August.

The communications packages will initially offer Pac Bell's ISDN service, which uses digital phone lines to transmit data at up to 128KB per second, but the companies might offer faster services such as frame relay in the future.

Once the package deal is available, FastTrak customers will still be able to buy routers from other vendors if they so choose.

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Firm says hardware clears ISDN hurdles