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Pac Bell adds network access

Pacific Bell opens a new Internet gateway in Southern California to address the growing problem of Net congestion.

Internet congestion is a growing problem, and California is especially vulnerable as an estimated 40 percent of Net traffic begins or ends in the state known for high tech and Silicon Valley.

To help address the problem, Pacific Bell, California's dominant local phone carrier, said today that it has opened a new Internet gateway in Southern California. The network access point, or NAP, features ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) technology and will eventually transport email, data files, and video at speeds of trillions of bits per second, the company said. In the meantime, it offers access at up to 155 million mbps and soon at 622 mbps.

"Assuming that the adoption of the Net as a personal and professional resource is still in its infancy, it is critical that telecommunications companies make infrastructure investments that allow them to meet imminent access and traffic demands," said Jim Diestel, director for advanced services for Pacific Bell's industry market group.

Vaultline, a Net backbone service provider, will provide the long distance connection between Pac Bell's Net access points in Northern and Southern California.

In January, Pac Bell's parent, SBC Communications, announced a plan that it said could reduce data traffic pileups on the Net. The technology, dubbed Internet/Internet Transfer Service, effectively splits the Net into two traffic lanes: one for traditional voice calls and one for Net data. Voice calls will no longer compete directly with Net traffic on the SBC network.

Telecommunications carriers and ISPs have been squaring off over the issue of Net congestion and who should pay for the upgrades. The telcos want ISPs to help foot the bill in the form of Net access fees. The ISPs retort that complaints of Internet congestion are greatly exaggerated by the telcos and can be solved with existing technologies, not Net access fees.