Data communications services are provided by Local Exchange Carriers (LEC) such as Bell Atlantic, Pacific Bell, U.S. West, Southern, Bell, etc. IntereXchange Carriers (IXC) such as AT&T, LDDS Worldcom, Sprint, and MCI, also provide data communications services. Since the passage of the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, the lines between LECs and IXCs have become blurred, with each offering services previously only offerred by the other. This has led to lower prices, and a lot of confusion.
Data communications services offered by these companies include Frame Relay, ATM, ISDN, Leased Lines, and dialup access.
Probably the most widely offered and utilized service is the Leased Line, or Point-to-Point connection. Dialup access lines are second, with Frame Relay third. ATM lags well behind because of its prohibitive cost and lack of stable standards. ISDN, unfortunately, has not received the type of support that it should have from the LECs.
Dialup access lines range from standard POTs lines, to Digital Supertrunks. The latter is actually a DS1, channelized and delivered over copper, which is often referred to as a T1. This service brings in 24 digital trunks which can carry voice or digital data. This is the type service offered by ISPs to allow customers with analog modems to connect to the Internet.
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