La Societa Italiana per l’esercizio delle telecomunicazioni, SIP, announced in Milan at the 29 annual staging of the Italian SMAU computer show, that it has initiated pilot ISDN service in 11 Italian cities, thanks to having installed CCS-7 signalling on 45% of its circuits between switches; by the end of next year, SIP aims to […]
La Societa Italiana per l’esercizio delle telecomunicazioni, SIP, announced in Milan at the 29 annual staging of the Italian SMAU computer show, that it has initiated pilot ISDN service in 11 Italian cities, thanks to having installed CCS-7 signalling on 45% of its circuits between switches; by the end of next year, SIP aims to convert 100% of the circuits to CCS-7 signalling, provide ISDN pilot service to four more cities, and interconnect the ISDN network to existing data and phone networks; the pilot phase is scheduled to run until March 31 and 1994 will mark SIP’s entry into providing large-scale European ISDN service, with a priority on big cities and industrial areas, the company said; in the meantime, SIP and France Telecom initiated commercial ISDN service between their two countries. The arrival of ISDN represents a surpassing of the monopoly [in Italy], said Sergio Antocicco, president of Anuit, the National Association of Italian Users of Telecommunications. In 1993, the transmission of data services [in Europe] will be liberalised. In ISDN, there is no difference between speech and data, so with a liberalisation of data, when you say the speech monopoly continues, it’s just a formality because you can’t separate the two. For a new installation of basic access service, SIP charges the equivalent of $300, with a base monthly rate of $37 for two bi-directional channels. SIP says its monthly basic access subscription rate compares favourably with the rest of the world; with approximately L72,000 in France and L53,000 in Japan. The prices SIP has introduced for [ISDN] subscription, the total cost, are not bad, but they probably won’t incite people to buy. SIP just sees ISDN as providing the customer access to a multiple use network and which gives them the convenience of managing just one contract. But look out, that one contract might cost you three times as much, says Giuliano Carlo Buratti, marketing manager for Ericsson Fatme in Rome. Antocicco was somewhat less charitable in his estimation of ISDN prices in Italy, and generally.
When you move from a mechanical network to a digital one, your costs drop. The ISDN tariffs are still those of an analogue network. So users, and not just Italian users, pay the price of a Rolex for the costs [to the service provider] of a Swatch, he said. To entice users to ISDN, SIP also demonstrated new videophone terminals. But interest is likely to remain limited because the costs are high, between $7,700 and $15,400. Says Ericsson’s Buratti, We haven’t gotten into the business yet because we don’t see volumes. One of the problems with videophones is uncertainty about how they will function on international connections. Says Pascal Meriaux, director of ISDN for France Teleco, The [French and Italian] ISDN networks are compatible, but that doesn’t mean that certain machines or applications wouldn’t have some difficulty in interoperating together. – Marsha Johnston