Electronic Frontiers Georgia

Telecommunications Issues



We were just informed that BellSouth will be requesting a tariff change for ISDN! This will have an impact on everyone in BellSouth Territory. According to Cary Howell of ComStar Communications Corp., details of the plan are as follows:

This month BellSouth will submit a proposal for new ISDN rates in each state that it serves except Tennessee. The plan has two major elements:
  1. A usage cap of 125 hours for residential customers and 200 hours for businesses on local calls for the same monthly rate that BellSouth currently offers for unlimited usage. Additional usage beyond the new limit will cost one cent per minute for both voice and data.
  2. An 8 percent to 15 percent discount on existing monthly rates for EZ ISDN ordering code packages.

BellSouth's ISDN sales department confirms that this rate increase is planned to take effect in October. BellSouth's regulatory department will only say "no filing has yet been made with the PSC". Under Georgia Law, BellSouth must submit a proposed rate increase to the PSC at least 30 days before it is to go into effect. Speculation is that BellSouth is waiting to coordinate filing with all states it serves at the same time.

A phone call to the Georgia Public Service Commission would show there is consumer opposition to this proposal. The person to contact is Don Shublee at (404) 656-4501. Written comments should be mailed to

Ms. Terri Lyndall, Executive Secretary
Georgia Public Service Commission
244 Washington Street
Atlanta, GA 30334

We suggest that you contact them for more information, and let us know what you find out. Offical comments must include a docket number (that has not to our knowledge yet been issed) and must be mailed. Faxed comments, and emailed comments are not acceptable.

What this means:

If you wanted to use ISDN as a fulltime service, having a permanent connection to the net, or a work at home situation you would find the following:

Based on a $63.75/monthly charge for ISDN, this is a increase of over 600%!!!!

Obviously, this will make it impossible for people to use ISDN as a low cost connection into the net or a work at home solution.

Ed Landa of ComStar Communications goes on to say that Comstar provides dedicated internet connections for business. Higher ISDN charges will effect their business in ways that are not good.

While Mindspring has no official position on the price increase, a representative of MindSpring Enterprises indicated that BellSouth ISDN connections were not designed for 24/7 operation. Whether or not BellSouth is handling the situation in the correct way is unclear. But the usage cap seemed reasonably high to him.

For Mindspring users, additional information can be found in the newsgroup 'mindspring.users.isdn'.

BellSouth has ISDN information available at http://www.bellsouth.com/isdn/

We called the BellSouth ISDN number at 1-800-858-9413 (option 3) and was told the new billing would have 150 hours cap, with a one cent per minute charge for additional hours. The customer service rep said this was being done so the network would not be tied up. According to customer service, the tarriff is being reviewed by the PSC and is scheduled to go into effect in October.

What You Can Do

We are looking for the proper channels to voice opposition to this rate increase. This site will be updated in a few days when we have more details.

Email your opinion to Bellsouth ISDN Services

Georgia Public Service Commission web page

Expect an email to the PSC to not be taken as seriously as a phone call (404-656-4501) would. But for those of you who like email, here are the addresses of the people in charge at the PSC.

dbakerpsc@aol.com Dave Baker, Chairman
rbbakerpsc@aol.com Robert Baker, Jr.
durdengpsc@aol.com Bob Durden
gapsc@aol.com Mac Barber
swisegpsc@aol.com Stan Wise

Written comments should be mailed to the PSC.

Ms. Terri Lyndall, Executive Secretary
Georgia Public Service Commission
244 Washington Street
Atlanta, GA 30334

PSC's Bobby Baker responds
Comments from Paul Scheele
Comstar Communications letter to PSC
Comstar Communications open letter to ISDN users
Info from ComStar
Modem FAQJust about everything you wanted to know about your modem.

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