Options for faster Internet increase, but better alternatives considered

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
Sprint has announced its new high-speed Internet access to Hillsboro. But for some, it still isn’t fast enough.



FastConnect ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) will provide users with high-bandwidth Internet access at speeds more than twice as fast as a traditional 56K dial-up modem, according to the company.



ISDN is available to most homes and businesses in the Hillsboro area, however certain restrictions may apply.



Besides the high-speed Internet Access, ISDN allows customers to use the Internet and talk on the telephone or send a fax at the same time’all over a single phone line with the purchase of a router.



“Sprint is pleased to announce the availability of high-speed Internet access in the Hillsboro area,” said Patrice Scott, Sprint’s public affairs manager. “We know there are a number of our customers who are interested in obtaining this service. This is part of Sprint’s ongoing commitment to our Hillsboro customers.”



The availability of ISDN for any particular customer in Hillsboro may be affected by the customer’s distance from Sprint’s central office or other factors that may be unique to a customer’s phone line, although most customers will qualify.



Customers will have to call Sprint to find out if ISDN is available in their specific location.



According to Clifford Gooden, a Sprint sales representative, the cost for businesses would be $46.63 a month, plus the cost of the local phone line, and $192 for the terminal adapter.



In order to have the multi-use phone line, a router would need to be purchased for $554.



However, according to Gordon Mohn, USD 410 Superintendent, another option may be available soon to Hillsboro businesses.



At a recent board meeting, Mohn reported discussion with the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce regarding making the Teen Line with T1 bandwidth available to local businesses.



Mohn said the speed and efficiency provided by the T1 would be an asset to Hillsboro-not only to current business owners, but would be a service to offer prospective business owners coming to the area.



Charles Jones, district technical director, said of the product comparison: “This is a story that has to be seen. You just can’t say it with words.”



According to Jones, the present line uses a 56K modem, which means 56,000 kilobytes are processed per second.



The Sprint line has a speed which is, at maximum, 128K, which is slightly above double the current rate.



But the T1, or proposed line, carries an guaranteed speed of 1,500K, or about 10 times faster than the Sprint option, or 30 times faster than the current line.



In a demonstration comparing the speeds of the 56K and the 1,500K, Jones connected to the Internet, went to a Wichita television site and downloaded a video clip of a news item.



The 56K line was still downloading while the video was running. It was a matter of seconds versus a matter of minutes.



“Speed is the biggest difference,” said Jones. “But how do you put it into words? You have to see it.”



Mohn, hoping to see the T1 established in Hillsboro, said the first option was to offer the program to a public non-profit group, and felt the Chamber of Commerce was the first place to start.



But in a special meeting, the Hillsboro Chamber “elected to pass the opportunity along,” said Rhonda Toal, executive secretary for the Chamber.



Marion Regier, Chamber president said, “The Chamber doesn’t have the resources necessary to oversee this type of operation, so the board felt it was best served under a private enterprise.”



Mohn said he could understand the position of the board, but that possibility is “not dead.”



“The next step,” said Mohn, “is to look at private enterprise.”

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