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Networking The Internet

Why Are T1 Lines Still Expensive? 556

Posted by Cliff
from the unpredictable-market-forces dept.
badfrog asks: "Over the last 10 years, DSL and cable modem has upped its speed (although in some instances only slightly) and dropped its price. However, the price of a T1 has stayed almost exactly the same. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have predicted any geek that wanted to would have fiber or their own T1 line to the house by now. What is with this sad state of affairs that a 'business class' 1.544Mbit connection is hundreds of dollars more than a 6Mbit cable connection? Is it a legitimate case that a high upload rate should increase cost so significantly?"
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Why Are T1 Lines Still Expensive?

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  • Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot&jawtheshark,com> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @05:57PM (#18876741) Homepage Journal

    Why do you even ask this question?

    The difference is clear. A T1 guarantees you your bandwidth. Both DSL and Cable do not. You usually get it, but that is only because others only use a fraction of what they are "allowed" to. Look in your TOS, you'll see that they do not guarantee the speeds, they are "averages". So essentialy, your ISP pays for 100Mbps and sells 5000Mbps to 1000 customers (Each 5Mbps, but in reality they get only 0.1Mbps). (Numbers pulled out of my you know what). If everyone would start downloading like crazy at the same time you'd get congestions. The fact is that it's not the bandwith that is interesting with DSL/Cable but the fact that it is always-on.

    When DSL started here, it was only 256kbps/64kbps for quite a lot of money. We made the calculation compared to our average ISDN Internet usage (that was per minute) and the price would be the same or slightly higher. Sure, the higher speed was appealing, but the fact that we knew we payed a flat-fee for unlimited interet usage and always-on made it more attractive. That was why we were early adopters, not because it was faster. After all the ISDN 64kbps was plenty of fast back then. It did change our internet habits though: checking the email in business hours was a no-no. We started to check our mail after waking up ;-)

    I heared that in Italy you can get a T1 for cheap, but I'm sure it comes with no guarantee.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:02PM (#18876847)
      "I heared that in Italy you can get a T1 for cheap, but I'm sure it comes with no guarantee."

      "I wanted to go to Cambodia. You can get a lobster dinner for a dollar."
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:4, Informative)

      by macx666 (194150) * on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:03PM (#18876861) Homepage
      I'm not sure when you last looked, but you are not always guaranteed your provider will not oversubscribe you for a T1. In fact, this is regular practice that your ISP does oversubscribe.

      As far as the prices, one reason is that a T1 requres more phone circuits whereas DSL only uses 1. Each circuit gets charged taxes and surcharges, so it is no surprise the cost hasn't come down quite as much.
      • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:12PM (#18877025) Homepage Journal
        Does DSL even use a classic phone circuit? My understanding was that DSL used frequencies unused by voice and was pulled off the line by separate hardware that had nothing to do with a phone circuit. You can get DSL without phone service... Well, sometimes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jawtheshark (198669) *
          You're absolutely right [howstuffworks.com]
        • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:4, Informative)

          by smallfries (601545) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:46PM (#18877561) Homepage
          Yes and no. It doesn't use the circuit as the higher-frequencies piggyback the line, but you do still need a line for those higher frequencies to piggyback. Here in the UK as long as the line is in place it can be deactivated for voice (so no line rental) but still used for DSL.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Steendor (917855)

          At least one company in my area requires an active basic phone service before they'll turn on DSL. That's what the rep told me, anyway...

          Yes, the voice and data services use different ranges of frequencies for communication - the reason dial-up is limited to such a relatively low speed is that it only has the voice bandwidth to work with (3KHz, I think). You also need to install a filter to eliminate noise on your phone. Ideally, you only need to install one filter, but for this to be practical you need

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ds_job (896062)
            Disclaimer: I have Cable not *DSL.
            You have to have a micro-filter on each of the extension sockets from the main phone line you want to put phone / data equipment on. There will be cross talk, line drops, radiation leaks and general carnage if you don't.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_filter [wikipedia.org] makes slightly more sense out of it. If you have a master socket in your house with a hard wired (i.e. in the back of the box) extension you will nee a micro filter at all extension sockets you are going to us
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by shaitand (626655)
              'This later scenario will require the *DSL equipment to only be connected to the micro-filter in the master socket.'

              The extension the DSL equipment connects to requires no filter. They filter out the frequencies used for DSL, on a voice line those frequencies only provide static, but the DSL extension certainly needs access to the frequency range it operates on!

              You are correct that every extension that will use the voice frequencies needs to be filtered. You can filter that at one point and run all your voi
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Aqua OS X (458522)
          DSL is a network of pneumatic tubes. There's even a site where you can sign up and have a movie delivered to your house.
        • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Tmack (593755) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @12:19AM (#18880513) Homepage Journal

          Does DSL even use a classic phone circuit? My understanding was that DSL used frequencies unused by voice and was pulled off the line by separate hardware that had nothing to do with a phone circuit. You can get DSL without phone service... Well, sometimes.

          How else does that signal go from the DSL modem to the CO? Yeh, it travels the phonelines. At least from your modem to the nearest DSLAM. The DSLAM filters out that signal and sends it on on a seperate path back through the data circuits.

          T1 Also uses phone lines, though the originating and terminating equipment on the segment from the remote terminal to the customer site are changed to stuff to handle T1 (or HDSL, depending on which is actually used to carry the signal). At the customer end, a box much larger than your standard telco dmarc box is installed containing a "smartjack". Basically it holds a card (Adtran H2TUR normally, with space for 2) that takes the signal from the telco and changes the output to T1. Sometimes it doesnt do anything but strip out the line power as the telco signal is T1 (also called "4wire" or "True" T1), the line power is for the card/repeaters to function. Usually, they send the T1 via some flavor of HDSL and use the smartjack to change it back to T1 signaling. This is a "2wire" T1, which uses only a single pair of copper, same as your standard POTs phone line. Normally, the telco tech will just move the pairs on each end to the new equipment to change it from POTs to T1. If they cant, or the trunk line for that segment has no pairs good enough to carry the signal, they might have to pull a new line... which isnt cheap. T1s are also notorious for wreaking havok on DSL subscribers that happen to share a trunk ;) .

          tm

      • Yeah, that's the difference between tier 1/2 and tier 3+. You only don't get guaranteed circuit if you're trying to bargain basement your way out of real T1 pricing.
      • Absolute BS. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by porky_pig_jr (129948)
        Completely clueless post. You DO NOT oversubscribe T1. T1 is dedicated pipe. End of the story. You can oversubscribe Frame Relay, though. I worked for BBN Planet at some point, and was involved with oversubscription issues (Frame Relay). That was BS #1. Now BS #2 is "DSL requires one phone line, T1 requires many phone lines". That's 64 DS0 you have in mind, right? So, the reason it is BS is that "DSL requires one phone line" from the customer premises to the nearest DSLAM only. From that point, that has to
        • Re:Absolute BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Xzzy (111297) <sether.tru7h@org> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:40PM (#18878343) Homepage
          You don't oversubscribe the T1, but you can oversubscribe uplink on the router that all the T1's traffic goes through to get to the world (the ISP's OC12, whatever).

          I've seen it done, and would not be surprised at all if the majority of tier 1's do it. It's a huge waste of money to assume that all your customers will use all their bandwidth all the time.

          The only added service a T1 buys you is a more sympathetic ear when problems crop up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MattW (97290)
          You sound really angry.

          He's talking about your provider overselling their bandwidth, and it happens. I worked for a tier 1 provider for five years, and was there before we got our first VC round. There was a point at which we were buying 1 T1 (from UUnet, I think), and selling 20+ T1s. Good stuff.
        • Re:Absolute BS. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @03:16AM (#18881425) Homepage
          You don't oversubscrbe the physical T1. (neither do you oversubscribe the physical ADSL by the way!)

          But you do most certainly oversubscribe the connection onwards from wherever the lines (be they t1 or adsl) terminate.

          Put differently, if you've got 10.000 subscribers for 1Mbps ADSL, you most certainly don't hook these into the Internet using a 10Gbit link. If you did, you'd be having 95% overcapacity on average, and probably 80% overcapacity at the peaks. (i.e. you'd literally *never* use more than 20% of your bandwith)

          Same applies if your customers come in over T1-lines.

          Now, there's still differences. Typical el-cheapo consumer-isps tend to simply accept that their lines spike for 10% or more of the time. In other words, if their actual load is 100Mbps average, 500Mbps peak, they'll buy perhaps 200Mbps, and simply accept that nobody gets more than half their rated speed if surfing at peak times.

          ISPs with a higher service-level try to keep their capacity around peak. Which means that if they calculated correctly, you'll "always" get your rated speed. You *may* on occasion experience sligthly less if they miscalculated.

          Insane ISPs, like Uninett has a target bandwith of 150% of the highest experienced former peak. In other words, aslong as *now* doesn't have 1.5 times the highest load experienced in the past, you'll get your rated speed. Notice that this too is probably an order of magnitude less bandwith than you'd need if you did not overprovision.

          Not overprovitioning is a lot like building roads as if everyone who owns a car would be driving it 24/7/365. If you did, you'd be spending 10 times the money on roads from whats really required.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm not sure when you last looked, but you are not always guaranteed your provider will not oversubscribe you for a T1. In fact, this is regular practice that your ISP does oversubscribe.

        Like many things it depends on what level of ISP you are dealing with. The professional ones (Level 3, XO, TWTelecom) state in their SLA they will not oversubscribe and in some cases in go into detail as to how they monitor their backbone(s) for congestion and what they do about it. It's the less expensive "business class"
      • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

        by galenoftheshadows (828940) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:26PM (#18878897) Homepage
        I sell circuits. Here are the reasons.

        Contrary to popular belief, T-1s are not oversubscribed. A T-1 is guaranteed bandwidth. As well, you're not really paying much for the bandwidth itself, you're paying for the Service Level Agreement (SLA). What that means is that if your circuit goes down, someone's head usually rolls. In other words, you get a reimbursement for your down time, or at least someone who tries to get you back running as soon as possible. As for your DSL/Cable, it really doesn't matter if you're God, you're down for as long as they feel like ignoring your problem.

        T-1s also do not require more "phone circuits" (whatever those are), rather simply a second pair. This does not affect the price, however, it does affect availability. Taxes and surcharges are not on a "per line" basis, but on a "per service" basis. If you're using your T-1 for digital phone, you do pay extra taxes and fees for each active channel. This doesn't really affect IP stuff, since all your channels are bonded in order to provide you your total bandwidth.

        All in all, the difference really boils down to the fact that one is a "business class" service, and one is not, businesses can justify more expense for their IP service if it makes them money, and therefore, providers figure that they can make more money off it, so they charge more.
        • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

          by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:32PM (#18879441)

          All in all, the difference really boils down to the fact that one is a "business class" service, and one is not, businesses can justify more expense for their IP service if it makes them money, and therefore, providers figure that they can make more money off it, so they charge more.


          Amazingly, you managed to write that sentence, the first half of which is false, and the second half of which is exactly correct.

          "Businesses can justify more expense for their IP service if it makes them money, and therefore, providers figure that they can make more money off it, so they charge more."

          That's the whole story.

          Some phone companies have figured out that the can actually make more money (sell more circuits) by lowering the price without increasing their costs all that much. Check out Verizon's business Fios. Half the cost of a T1, rapid downtime response, and four times the upstream bandwidth. They've been available in the town I live & work in for just over a year, and they've already installed more than four times the number of them than they had T1s before. Many businesses upgraded from (much cheaper) business DSL, and the cost is now in the range justifiable for a home office. When a tree hits the lines they've got to splice all the wires anyway, so maintenance of the system as a whole is a fixed expense, and the fiber is more reliable than the copper was. The only variable cost is bandwidth.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dodobh (65811)
            What happens when the fibre goes down? What is the uptime guarantee?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by at_slashdot (674436)
          I doubt God uses DSL, He must use at least T3.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by renbear (49318)
          BZZZZZZZZT! Wrong. Well, wrong if we're talking about internet connectivity, and I believe that's what the original question was about.

          In a point-to-point, telco-tech sense, no, T-1s cannot be oversubscribed, not like frame relay can be. However, they can (and damn well ARE) in an internet-bandwidth sense. Do you seriously propose that all ISPs maintain excess upstream bandwidth equal to all their customer T-1s added together? Hell no.

          I've worked for a number of ISPs and telcos over the years, and I kn
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dusty123 (538507)
          I can't see the reason why T1 should not be overbooked.

          It may be that the marketing gurus brand T1 as "the product with the guaranteed bandwidth", but believe me, I have 512/512 SDSL here, also with a guaranteed bandwidth of > 90%.

          Moreover, the connection between your DSL-Modem (ADSL/SDSL whatever) and the DSLAM at the telco can never be overbooked, if the data rate is set to e.g. 2048/512 then this speed is fixed. From the DSLAM to the provider/Internet, the line may of course be overbooked, but this ha
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

      by mknewman (557587) * on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:04PM (#18876865)
      There is another issue here, both Cable and DSL are "Internet Connections" where a T1 is a point to point connection, not tied to an ISP. The T1 (T3, SONET, etc) is a telco service, which in many cases is used internally in a business not tied to the Internet at all. That said, most telcos are now running ATM backbones, and all the traffic, be it voice, data or Internet flows through that backbone. You have many choices for connections now. BTW, I have fiber in my house, from the days when I ran an ISP. I had T1, ATM DS3, and lots of analog lines. Bell installed a large blue cabinet to run a SONET to support the ATM DS3 over SONET on fiber.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by jawtheshark (198669) *

        True, but contrary to most nations this is split in my country. I pay a fixed fee for the "connection" to the local P&T company, and then on top of that I pay a "internet connection" fee to my ISP...

        Sad, but true.... I'm aware this is different in many countries, but not in mine.

      • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:41PM (#18879033)
        You folks are getting close, but you're still missing it: T1 is for access to the *synchronous* backbone - very low jitter, no dropped bits, extremely stable bit rates. T1 is a *premium* communication medium left over from the days when the only way to get voice into digital format was PCM vocoding at 8kHz, and that bit stream had to be carried *perfectly* from one side of the network to the other (no buffering, no error correction, at least in the bad old days.) In addition, as a *telephone* service (make no mistake about that, it is telephone, not internet; that you can use it for internet access is irrelevant), the service providers are required by regulatory authorities to give you five-nines availability. You bet your ass T1 is still expensive! What we get on cable or DSL is like an all-you-can buffett at a greasy spoon - cheap, and with good reason, but if all you need is calories, it will do just fine. The real question is not why T1 is still expensive, but why the garbage we get for DSL and cable is so over-priced.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      >A T1 guarantees you your bandwidth.

      Sort of. The ISP serving the T1 might guarantee it, but they don't have to. However, the company leasing you the T1 line (usually the phone company) guarantees that the line will be available to something crazy like 7 nines. The difference being that one guarantees the line will be there, the other just guarantees that *if* the line is working, it'll work up to capacity (which could be reduced if the line is faulty).

      Considering that my DSL goes out every other week
    • by LoudMusic (199347)

      I heared that in Italy you can get a T1 for cheap, but I'm sure it comes with no guarantee.
      http://forums.giles-guthrie.com/viewthread.php?thr eadid=770&forum=6 [giles-guthrie.com]

      Basically the United States is by no means an internet forerunner. We are being dragged into the past by the telcos. Cancel your landline today!
    • Aside from overselling their capacity (and keeping their fingers crossed that someone doesn't get fed up with the congestion and move to another network), the consumer-level cable/DSL services dont' guarantee any kind of uptime for the connection.

      just look at TimeWarner/Verizon/Optimum/Comcast/etc... frequent outages, sometimes for seconds (just a blip) and sometimes for an hour or more. There are absolutely no guarantees of anything; and that includes there's no guarantee they won't drop your ass if they *
    • by garcia (6573)
      The difference is clear. A T1 guarantees you your bandwidth. Both DSL and Cable do not.

      They also give you a guaranteed service level. If you need service the same day, they are generally there whereas you could wait several days for techs from CATV/Telco.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:42PM (#18877485)
      Is that DS-1s are highly flexible. You can provision a DS-1 a number of different ways. For example you could do 4 channels for data (256k) 12 for voice, and 6 as a private link to another office. Well, the hardware on the back end for all that costs money. That's there regardless of if you want it or not. If not, it's not a DS-1 line. Same reason ISDN is expensive. It's not the exact same and isn't as many channels, but it is a similar technology. Even if all you want an ISDN line for is 128k Internet, you are still getting everything else that one implies, which is quite a lot (a BRI ISDN line is two digital phone lines with all the features).

      The old circuit switched digital phone shit is expensive. That's the reason we are moving to all packet switched technologies like VoIP. Much less is needed to run voice, net, video, and VPN over a single link if it is all done over IP. However DS-1 allows all that stuff, but can do it at a lower level. You can break out individual channels and use them for different things.

      If that sounds like it's kinda useless, well, it is these days. It's legacy technology more or less. In 50 years, we'll probably see very little if any of it left. Everything will come over an IP connection, and the lower level will be a simply point-to-point with an ISP. However at this point, if you get DS-1, you are paying for all the other shit. Better to find another technology for the physical and datalink.
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:09PM (#18877943)
      Disclaimer: I work in the Telecom industry.

      Pricing is based on two government agencies:
      1) FCC (Federal)
      2) PUC (Local)

      Also please keep in mind that cable and dsl do not guarantee speeds from that connection. In addition; T1's speeds are symmetrical while dsl and cable are asymmetrical; hence the difference in uploading and downloading. One final thought is quality of service; there is are strict SLA's in place for T1's; while cable and dsl get pretty much get away with varying types of service.

      If you want a cheaper T1; look at PUC pricing instead of FCC pricing. Talk to your provider about UNE types of service.

      PS: UNE = Unbundled Network Element.
      Regards
    • Re:Oh, come on! (Score:5, Informative)

      by v1 (525388) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:25PM (#18878149) Homepage Journal
      A T1 doesn't guarantee anything... it isn't anything. It's just a pipe. Typically a T goes either between offices in your business, or between you and your ISP. You still have to pay someone to fill the pipe if you want internet. The big difference appears to be the scale. When a cable co moves in, they run cable all over the place, and when someone subscribes they just jack into their already installed network and there you go. T's require a bit more setup, both on the poles and at the central office. Where they send out Bubba to install your cable modem (drill a 1/4" hole in your floor usually, so much for "professional installation") then they tap a few keys at the office and bam you have cable. It's getting easier now with T1's but it's still not that simple. The T itself does have some guaranteed service though, but that's not so much for the bandwidth it will carry, but for whether or not it will be UP. (uptime for most Ts is well over 95%) Businesses usually are last on the list when a pole gets hit, even after residential customers. Where I worked our pole got nailed and it took us down for about 5 hours, but houses in the area were back up in less than 50 minutes.

      Once you get the T to your ISP you have to pay them to fill the pipe. This can be any amount you are willing to pay for, both upstream and downstream, up to the limit of the line.

      Upstream is the killer though. I run my own web server and mailserver etc so I need upstream, and I pay dearly for it. I have a "business class" DSL line that is 936/1536, compared to the consumer grade 256/1536. For that I pay over three times the cost per month. If they offered 2mbit upstream for more I would probably get it but they don't offer it here. I suspect the upstream is expensive because it is a much more limited resource. To save costs, service providers probably buy only so much upstream and so much downstream. Typical users use what, 92% down and 8% up. Me it's almost the other way around. Because of that they lease say 2000 units of downstream and 250 units of upstream from their provider. If everyone fires up bittorrent etc on their network it kills their upstream and that 250 goes real fast and their customers complain. So they either have to pay for a fatter upstream, or charge more and start capping. Obviously they cap. They go from 95% of their customers being unhappy (slow, long ping times, timeouts) to 5% of their customers being unhappy. (upstream sucks, try emailing mom your new home movie!) Obviously they choose to upset 5% rather than 95%.

      I heared that in Italy you can get a T1 for cheap, but I'm sure it comes with no guarantee.

      well, the T is guaranteed. If you get a 24 (26?) channel digital line you are gonna get 1536 up and down, period. Now what's on the other end of that line, that could be anything. If your ISP has not overbooked its bandwidth and has a sane network arrangement, you can expect 1450 or so both ways in most cases, downloads topping out around 1520'ish. I have not had the displeasure of using an ISP that overbooks yet, but they're out there, I'm sure of it. In that case you might get lower speeds up, down, or both - hard to say. I have never heard an ISP guarantee anything though. If they did, the next flashmob that occurred on CNN with half the country downloading video of the latest terrorist attack, sure enough everyone's download would suck at once and their phone would be ringing demanding a comp'd week of service or something. So I guess you can't blame them for not being able to handle flashmobs.

      Checking my line now,
      Connection Status: Speed (down/up): 1536 / 992 Kbps

      mmm 992 that's faster than last I looked. It's gone up slowly over the last several months, no idea why but I'm not complaining. Rather surprised to see I am only sending about 2x as many packets as I am receiving. But I'm sure the send packets are quite a bit larger than the received ones.

      None of this explains the cost of the functional digital line. I believe
    • As parent notes, the difference is the bandwidth and QOS guarantee. That's the difference between a phone line and VoIP too, which is why VoIP is still a long way off being a reliable service. If I want the cops or an ambulance, I don't want my call competing with porn browsing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz (86384) *
      This T1 deal looks much like Mainframe stuff. People have hard time understanding how IBM/Sun can sell those with such prices but when they hear about the service/uptime guarantee mainframe provides, they begin to understand.

      I was visiting a admin friend of a major online shop, he was watching the stats/connected clients for a quick maintanance, it only dropped to 3000 guys at 4 AM. That is not Amazon for sure. Now imagine the line goes off mysteriously and those 3000 people have $10 in their shopping card,
  • by Gothmolly (148874)
    There are enough decision makers who remember the 56k line days that a T1 seems impressive, and if you market it as "business class" and people start talking about E1 framing and CSU/DSUs, then its obviously cool enough for business. 1.5 Mbps SDSL somehow is kid stuff in comparison.

    Of course thats all crap, but hey, there's one born every minute.
  • T1 are supposed to have more of a guarantee with them. They are reliable and you tend to get your full bandwidth (which esp on cable modems you will not). They are also often packaged with 'business grade' support... though your mileage will vary there.

    Now, how true this all is....
  • by Lithdren (605362) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @05:59PM (#18876781)
    They're so expensive because there's not alot of competition for them, and if you need it, you cant live without it.

    You dont have the option of moving to a Cable connection, or even several, because of the need for so much upload. You're stuck. And there's no incentive to lower prices.
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @05:59PM (#18876799) Homepage
    Vacuum tubes are expensive because its hard to make a vacuum tube that has any degree of reliability. The fact that transistors do the same job and cost dirt has little impact on the difficulty or cost of making vacuum tubes.

    T1s are expensive for the same reason. The 15 meg FiOS service at my house actually costs Verizon a lot less to build and maintain than the multiply repeated 1.5 meg T1 that preceeded it.
    • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:04PM (#18876869)
      Wow, Tubes, in a conversation about internet bandwidth, in a way that is completely unlike the stupid lame slashdot joke..

      If I had mod points, I'd give them to you!
  • Your T1 is dedicated. A DSL/Cable Modem is shared. You have 1.5Mb all the way up the chain, to the actual peering point (i guess it depends on your contract). Your 6MB Cable modem is shared among your entire neighborhood, and then all the neighborhoods share an outgoing line to the internet. (ie, they might have 45Mb for something like 100 neighborhoods, which to run every block at full speed, would require 600Mb of bandwith.)
  • It's not the speed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:00PM (#18876813) Journal
    It's not the speed.

    With a cable modem or ADSL line you'll have no SLA. It'll be "if it breaks, we'll fix it when we get around to it, possibly within three working days". With a T1 or similar line you'll get a service level agreement for a guaranteed rapid fix. If you get DOSsed, you won't just get thrown off the service, they'll work with you to stop the DOS attack etc.

    Also, contention - with ADSL or cable you'll be sharing that bandwidth with perhaps as many as 50 other users. A T1 will be uncontended.

    It's also expected that T1 users will be heavy bandwidth users, which is reflected in the price.
    • by astrashe (7452) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:08PM (#18876937) Journal
      I had an early ISP in the 90's, and we almost went out of business when our T1 line went down, and they had that "We'll fix it when we get around to it" attitude.

      In the early days, we plugged into a group called CICNet, which was one of the old regional NSF providers. And they were incredible -- if we unplugged our router to physically move it, we'd get a phone call making sure we were ok.

      But during the later 90's, one provider kept buying up another, and service went down the tubes. I get substantially better service on my cable modem than I got from about 3 different companies who managed the same T1 line in those days.

      At the end, we went down, and I went down to their sales office, and said, I'm not leaving until someone gets on this, and the guy gave me a VP's phone number. And I called and called and called, and eventually he gave in and put a tech on my problem. When it was fixed, and I thanked him, I mentioned it was a T1. And he said, "What, after all this you don't even have a T3?"

      I expect it's better now that we don't have the same sort of churning and consolidation in the industry. But my experience with T1 lines both at my ISP, and at other jobs, where we had them brought in, has been a lot rockier than anything I've ever experienced on either DSL or cable lines at home.

      Obviously, my anecdotal experience isn't a solid statistical picture, and I'm not claiming it is. And maybe this was epecially nightmarish because we were in Chicago, where the quality of these types of services is very low. But it was far and away the hardest and most nightmarish part of my job.
      • As others have noted, it's common to have an SLA for the full bandwidth of the T1.

        It's also common to have a good SLA WRT uptime and response time for incidents.

        This company originally had a T1 through Alternet/UUnet. If we rebooted the router, they called to check on us. There were times they called to check on things when we weren't even aware we'd had a glitch. They got bought. As far as I could tell, nothing changed. Then they merged or got bought again. If it changed, it sure wasn't much. They w
  • It's marketing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:01PM (#18876825) Journal
    It's marketing.

    T-1s are "old", business-class products. So they are not sold by the same marketoid types who push consumer broadband.

    Dont't forget that you're dealing with a big phone company, so your everyday normal cartesian logic will not take hold there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash (241428)

      Quite.

      If you want to see how stupid telephone pricing is, compare POTS (that's your usual analog service) to ISDN, in the US. ISDN is expensive, POTS isn't.

      Why? Because once upon a time ISDN was seen as a premium product and POTS wasn't. But actually, ISDN is in some respects cheaper, especially when you compare it to two POTS lines. ISDN is essentially a direct digital connection to the exchange, whereas POTS requires all kinds of tricks to work. And with two line POTS, you're talking about requiring

  • Service level (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Burdell (228580) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:05PM (#18876889)
    I have worked for small (larger than mom/pop garage but not regional/national) ISPs for over 11 years. I have seen T1 prices drop significantly in that time, but they are still a good bit more than DSL. The biggest reason is the level of service delivered. With DSL, you get "best effort" bandwidth; if the link goes down, you talk to front-line support and (mostly due to the telephone company, but again it is a cost/staffing thing) it can often take days to repair a problem. With a T1, you get your guaranteed bandwidth; if the link goes down, you talk to the network staff, and the telephone company typically must make repairs in a few hours or less (or face penalties).

    Also, the hardware costs for T1 are higher. We can support something like 8000 DSL subscribers on a $25K BRAS, while a 4 port channelized DS3 card (supporting 112 T1s) runs around $45K (and that's just the interface card; the router costs another $30K+).
  • by mandelbr0t (1015855) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:05PM (#18876893) Journal
    Well, maybe not guaranteed, but for some security requirements, point-to-point physical security is important. In those cases, business class DSL can't make such a claim, since there are many points along the way where it goes through a CO or somesuch thing. That's what the up-front cost is for: to run a wire from your network location to the main trunk without going through anything else. Admittedly, they don't need to charge so much for the actual network service once the line is run. I don't think that there's really much additional work to support the T1 line once the connection to the trunk is made; it's straight TCP/IP from there on out.
    • by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:53PM (#18877713) Homepage
      It would be nice if you had a clue what you were talking about.

      But sadly, you don't.

      Both a DSL line and a T1 are going to terminate at the same CO. No, a T1 isn't using anything other than a conditioned pair in the same cable that your DSL line is going through. The conditioning required might involve either cleaning some contacts along the way or just finding a clean pair. A long, long time ago this involved checking out amplifiers along the way and such, but that is pretty much gone in metro/suburban areas. You might find an amplifier in a far-flung rural area and that might need conditioning.

      But a T1 in the middle of nowhere isn't going to be cheap, either. But it might be the best you can get if you don't have cable TV and are miles and miles past 17,000 feet from the CO.
      • by sabernet (751826) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:59PM (#18879197) Homepage
        The parent is correct. You seem to be the one a little out of it. And snidey at that.

        T1s are point-to-point circuit switched connections. The Internet only factors in if one device on that point-to-point connection happens to be a gateway router.

        Being point to point, it's isolated, secured, easier to secure, and probably guaranteed via some policy or contract. You don't share with no one.

        DSL has a same setup; you don't share your connection like cable internet. However, with DSL, you only have a closed circuit between you and an isp. To reach your office across the state, the connection has to traverse your ISP's routers and distribution systems then to your office's. Do a traceroute one day.

        With a T1, the closed circuit is between you and your office cross-state. Your ISP only uses layer 2 switching to make sure the circuit takes the optimal path. Once it's connected, it's locked in. And unlike internet via DSL or cable with your ISP in the mix, TCP/IP doesn't have to factor in at all if you don't want it to. You get your choice of protocols for addressing and transport.

        You seem to think because since you saw some guy hooking up what looked like a phone jack to your buddy's computer that you're en expert in the field and have the right to be a pretentious dick about it. Sorry to disappoint you.

        In this case, the medium is not quite as important. The cabling is nothing much more then a polished POTS line. However, you still have the other 6 layers of the OSI model to think about.
  • by iPaul (559200) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:15PM (#18877067) Homepage
    Actually, this is a very good question. First because it seems like better options are available with higher bandwidth that make T1's less attractive if you have a little more money to spend. For some applications where bandwidth guarantees are critical (like a VoIP phone system or PBX for a 200 person company), the fact you are guaranteed to get 1.5 Mbps is great. For small companies, like mine, even if the effective bandwidth drops to 256k, it is still plenty. I had a go-around with Verizon a few years back over SDSL. They were committed to offer only T1's, but I didn't need that much bandwidth and couldn't afford the quoted $800 a month and change. I bought a 384k SDSL (384k upload and download) line from Covad, and could have gone up to 768 for something like 250 a month. (At the time that included a whopping 32 static IP's as well).
  • Last time I checked, in our area (Utah, Qwest), a T-1 has a guaranteed response time of 4 hours. However, if a DSL line goes down they will guarantee NOT to do anything for 5 days or so.

    Yes, it is a scam.
  • T1 is not the same as DSL.

    DSL is a 2 wire system, as it's just a POTS line. T1s have a pair for transmit and a pair for receive.

    T1s have traditionally cost more than DSL and thus have an expectation of reliability. The expectation translates into extra workers watching, and better equipment used in it.

    More wires = more space on equipment and on poles.
    Better equipment = more money.
    More expectations = more payrole.

    Remember price per quality is a non-linear relationship.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:23PM (#18877187)
    From the "I'd rather post to /. and have the editors post this topic than enter it in google" dept:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=why+are+t1s+expensi ve [google.com]

    First 10hits are questions on "Why is a T1 more expensive than DSL?"

    Must be a slow news day.
    (i know this is a troll but, "ask slashdot" questions should not be answered with the FIRST TEN hits in a google search).
  • Dedication (Score:5, Informative)

    by David E. Smith (4570) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:24PM (#18877197)
    I have a few customers with T1s, and they're paying about six times what they'd pay for my company's wireless service (which would be a faster connection to boot). Part of that is the fact that I have to pay the telco for that T1, obviously, but even without that they're still paying a LOT more than they would otherwise.

    However, it's a dedicated connection from us to them. It's not a shared connection at any point (as most cable modem and wireless networks, and some weird DSL networks, are). Until it leaves my network entirely, I do my darnedest to ensure their traffic gets high priority within my network (with QOS and other similar voodoo). There's a dedicated router here, just for them, with a spare ready to be swapped over in about five minutes if the hardware should fail. (Cisco 2500s are down to about twenty bucks on eBay, why NOT have spares?)

    As an aside, every T1 comes with my cell number, which means you get pretty much the best service I'm able to provide. Because I really don't want to be bugged after hours.

    It's not the upload capacity, at least for my customers; they follow normal "small-business" traffic patterns where uploads are about 10% or so of their traffic.

    Maybe some of it is just the novelty/prestige of saying "I have a T1," which sounds impressive because, hey, a lot of folks don't even know what that means. But most of it, I'd wager, is the fact that it's a dedicated, reliable connection (my customers' T1s have about two hours of downtime in the last four years), and sometimes that extra nine is worth it.
    • by transporter_ii (986545) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:46PM (#18877549) Homepage
      A man was complaining about his life to his clergyman.

      "I was a hard-working clerk making $30,000 per year. I was frugal, living carefully, saving my money, and I was happy and content.
      Then one day I fell in with some shady characters and I got suckered into a high-stakes poker game. That was my ruin. Now I am anxious, stressed, and miserable."

      His friend says "So you fell into temptation and lost all your savings?"
      "No, I won, and like a fool I bought this lousy Wireless internet company."
  • Faulty Premise (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tjp($)pjT (266360) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:31PM (#18877313)
    The T1 I purchased in 1996 was $2000 roughly from Sprint. Of that $600 was GTE/Verizon's charge for the loop (2 pair). In 1999 I upgraded to a pair of T1 circuits (bonded) the cost was $2300 total, with $300 per loop to Verizon roughly. Then we split our connection and the Sprint T1 of 2002 cost $975 with $180 of that for the Verizon local loop. So the T1 cost has been dropping. But now the product is not in as much demand. In 2005 when we were moving our ISP to a place where bandwidth was cheap (10-60 USD per megabit/sec depending on the provider we'd chose, we reneted space plus got bandwidth and lost the overhead for the redundant power and HVAC (bundled with the space)), then Sprint offered $655 for a T1.

    So T1s have been steadily dropping in price. The local loop charges however are moving upwards as clean copper is getting scarcer in some regions and the install of the box to take fiber and supply a T1 has to be accounted for in the local loop charges now. I have seen deals for $395 all in on the web however. And in the case of Sprint with had a committed information rate of the full T1. The CIR clause will cost a bit on your contract as well.
  • by GFree (853379) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:32PM (#18877321)
    You want to know why T1 lines are so expensive? Because the idiots with whom you try to talk to just want you to give them money, they don't even bother to haggle on the price.

    Why just last week, I was talking to my local ISP about my situation. I was interested in upgrading my 28.8 kilobaud Internet connection to a 1.5 megabit fiber optic T1 line, and was trying to determine if they were able to provide an IP router that was compatible with my Token Ring Ethernet LAN configuration. The bastard just looked at me blankly and asked:

    "Can I have some money now?"

    I mean, how the fuck are prices suppose to fall with that attitude?
  • by uberzip (959899) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @06:38PM (#18877429)
    Saying that T1 prices haven't changed is crazy. Of course they have changed! 7 years ago my company was paying over $1000 per month for half a t1 (before broadband was really available). Since then we've gone to full T1 for $800 and now a dual bonded T1 at 3mb up and down is at that price. Speakeasy has full T1 for $300 per month. Of course its more expensive as its a guaranteed service , a loop must be brought to your location, and equipment like the dsu is spendy. But saying that the price hasn't changed is ridiculous. The price has changed more than broadband prices in my opinion.
  • by jht (5006) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:20PM (#18878107) Homepage Journal
    When I bought my first T1 back in '99, it was about $1200 per month. It was from Shore.Net (now Primus), and it replaced a more expensive 256k circuit from UUnet. In 2001, I bought a second T1 from Sprint for about $950. Nowadays, I buy them for my clients (usually from Speakeasy) for around $400 or less. I'd say that's a pretty big price drop. A dual bonded T1 (as another poster mentioned) is under $800 - well lower than a single T1 cost a few years ago.

    Sure, DSL is cheaper, but you get what you pay for to a certain point. Most importantly, ADSL is typically restricted to 768k max upload speed (I can get commercial cable Internet with 1.1 upload around here) unless you get SDSL (much pricier), and then you basically have a T1 without the service guarantees.
  • by Si (9816) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @07:43PM (#18878365) Homepage
    You're paying for the guy on the phone, when the circuit goes down, to say "yessir, it'll be up in less than 10 minutes". And mean it.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djlowe (41723) * on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:09PM (#18878711)
    Well, I'm certainly no expert when it comes to "real" Internet access such as T1 connections, etc.

    But, my understanding was (and someone please correct me if I am wrong) that a T1 line is a dedicated connection: The telcos create a complete, unimpeded circuit, point-to-point, from where you are, to wherever you are paying to have it terminate (generally at your ISP).

    If "where you are" happens not to be serviced by fiber, then they have to dedicate a pair of copper wires to you: That removes a physical pair of wires, along the entire pathway of the T1 circuit from where you are, to where it terminates, for so far as is necessary to do so.

    And, I suppose, even if you have fiber servicing where you are, somewhere along the way they still have to provision that bandwidth, to dedicate it to you, and again that removes part of their capacity from "general" use.

    Compare and contrast that to DSL and Cable broadband access: They both *share* bandwidth: For DSL, it's shared on the phone line, for Cable, it's shared on the cable connection.

    But, in neither of the latter 2 cases, is any of the upstream bandwidth dedicated exclusively to your use, in either direction.

    THAT is what you are paying for, for a T1 line, etc. - dedicated symmetrical bandwidth: For a T1 line, you get 1.54 Mbps, in BOTH directions, guaranteed.

    And again, that's my poor understanding of this.

    As much as I hate car analogies, here's one that is close, I think: Consider the current road systems, in any particular country. You have a combination of local roads, that link to freeways, highways, etc.

    When you get a dedicated circuit, such as a T1 line, you are paying for a "road", from where you are, to your ISP, one which has no other "cars" on it, except for those that YOU put on the road. At some point, that "road", merges onto a "highway", and then YOU are then paying the "road provider" for the privilege of a dedicated "lane": They are blocking off a section of their "highway" to make a "lane" for YOUR use, only, and in doing so, they are removing it from general use.

    And, that "lane" is "two-way", BTW: The "cars" that travel from where you are, do so at full speed, without "stop lights", etc. - and when they return, they return in the same way.

    And that's why T1 lines are still "so expensive" - though their cost HAS dropped, and remarkably so, considering.

    Oh, and yes, the analogy breaks down, past the point where the "lane" meets the ISP... so?

  • T1's (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hackus (159037) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:14PM (#18878769) Homepage
    Let me count the ways.....

    1) T1, down at 3AM saturday. No problem, people are working on it.

    Business class DSL: Bawahahahahaha...call who?
    Cable: We don't work weekends.

    2) Reliability. The infrastructure difference between DSL and Cable vs T1's are incredibly different.

    T1's are simple in comparison compared to a DSL or Cable infrastructure. Too many people and too many things that can go wrong.

    When I run a NAGIOS report for all my DSL lines and Cable lines and compare it to my T1 line over a complete 365 day interval:

    My T1 had one incident in July of last summer with a direct lightening strike, was down for 3 hours. Didn't even have to call anyone, they had people working on it Sunday evening, and I got a voice mail it would be up in about 3-5 hours.

    I have Sangoma cards in my Linux routers, and from what I can tell there was also a down/up event last year for about 1 second in my logs.

    DSL line: It has had over 20 down events which I would call momentary lapses, 13 outright drops for 30-40 minutes at a time, and 80-100 quality alerts that indicated dropped packets or packet loss. I have two NAGIOS servers too, one for monitoring the internal network and one to monitor the outside network.

    I made the NAGIOS box to monitor the ISP's so that I could tell if they were having an external or internal problem with thier networks.

    6 times I had to dial in and remotely login to the AC strip and dump the power to the DSL unit to reset it, which would then "fix" whatever it was that made it loose its marbles.

    One instance one of my facilities was down for almost 3 days, no DSL service. Something happened when SBC upgraded the line, as I asked SBC for a bandwidth increase. The SBC rep told me it was "standard practice" to change your IP address space with a line speed increase.

    WT? When I pointed out changing the static IP's without telling your customers could have adverse affects on businesses VPN links, I got the "Well, thats what we do." I prompted told them to put the service I had back in place, they couldn't. They erased the passwords on the DSL modem and didn't have them.

    They wanted me to drive 35 miles to a facility to put the password back into the modem.

    I promptly dropped the DSL service. It didn't bother me anyway as all my locations have cable and dsl, linked through a BGP topology.

    I also had the DSL modem replaced 8 times in the last 2 years at all 8 of my DSL/Cable facilities. The speedstream units suck arse. The netopia units are much better, but they still screw up once in awhile.

    I even update the firmware myself, doesn't seem to make any difference so I stopped doing that.

    Bottom Line: DSL saves money, it certainly does....but it isn't a 24x7 service, the customer service for business class sucks. For what you get with SBC business class cable its REALLY overpriced.

    In fact, I would not call SBC business class cable anything remotely associated with "business". Its a consumer line with static IP's.

    SBC can cackle all they want, but don't buy from them if your application needs anything but casual line use. It was so bad I had to buy cable as well so I could keep my facilities up 24x7.

    This isn't limited to just one facility. I have Linux BGP routers in 10 facilities spread out over 50 miles. Every SBC facility equipped DSL service has the same issues.

    Cable: Cable is better than DSL, only had 12 incidents. All of them related to the fact that the cable company keeps changing the signaling on the modems as the seasons go by. So, all 12 incidents were related to high packet loss due to bad signal. When they change the signaling to the cable modem, the line freaks, and they have to send a tech out to install a filter on the line. That must get REALLY expensive.

    Cable is better, but running a BGP topology with multiple redundant pathways presented problems with cable and DSL.

    For example, as our business grew ove
  • by scgops (598104) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:21PM (#18879353)
    First, a technical detail. T1 lines send their digital signals over lines with high-current, constant DC power. Without a correspondingly high load resistance, the net effect can send hundreds of DC volts through whatever gets plugged in. Don't believe me? Feel free to stop by my data center, lick your finger, and run it across some T1 cross-connects. That's how a lot of old phone company techs look for vacant pairs on trunk lines. It's a lot faster than busting out a multi-tester.

    Meanwhile, the equipment that phone companies use for T1 lines is, as someone said, expensive. It's also on a 30-year depreciation cycle. Until that cycle is up, don't expect prices to come down much. Some companies, like MCI, have already gone through a bankruptcy and written off a big chunk of that depreciation, so they might be able to do better, but only if they own the gear they're using. Any telco buying capacity from a baby Bell is going to have to pay (and charge you) the going rate.

    Which brings me to the biggest reason for high T1 costs. The price is regulated. T1 lines get billed based on tariff schedules maintained by each state's public utilities commission. That way, small telcos (competitive local exchange carriers, to use the technical term) can theoretically compete with the big guys by selling you comparable service at a comparable price, often by reselling services actually being provided by the baby Bell, with them simply acting as a middle-man.

    For the most part, the price isn't the result of supply and demand, or bandwidth guarantees, or idiots who pay more than they should. It's the result of lobbying by the telco industry. And, being regulated by the government, the price is unlikely to ever go down much. The only real competitive pressure on price is coming from MCI and other telcos that are able to give you a heftier discount because of owning their own infrastructure and having a lower cost burden. The tariff schedules are the same for every T1 within any given geography, regardless of who sells it to you, but some telcos can offer bigger discounts off of the tariffed rate if they have lower overhead costs. The effect of that lower cost structure is most noticeable in "lit" buildings, where telcos have large, SONET multiplexer units inside office buildings aggregating all of the data and voice traffic onto fiber and ensuring it stays on their own network rather than a competitor's. In those locations, the equipment is new, with much more capacity at a much lower cost than the gear used for buildouts in the 1990's. There also aren't any third parties involved insisting on a cut of the action.
    • Informative? Hah (Score:5, Informative)

      by shadow_slicer (607649) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @11:59PM (#18880403)
      Actually your technical details are somewhat inaccurate:

      T1 lines send digital signals with almost NO current. This is due to the balanced encoding used on the line. There are two primary encodings used in North America (Europe has their own standard): B8ZS [wikipedia.org] and AMI [wikipedia.org]. These encodings ensure that the number of positive signals sent are roughly the same as number of the negative signals sent, resulting in an average DC voltage close to zero. While I don't doubt your anecdote about techs using their fingers to test if a line is live, the signal they experience has more in common with AC than DC.

      The electrical specifications of a T1 [inetdaemon.com] show that it uses {-12, 0 12}V DC as the signaling alphabet. This is not the "hundreds of DC volts" you claim (maybe you were confused with the POTS system which uses 90V RMS ringer signal).

      I don't know much about the politics of the system (I've only designed endpoint equipment and had little interaction with customers), but I know your technical details were rather specious. Do you have any evidence to back your other claims?

  • xo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by conn3x (989931) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:43PM (#18879517) Homepage
    I don't know if this is worth mentioning, but I'm about to upgrade to a 10 mbps from the 1.544 T1. I think its a new not available everywhere low end OC3 DIA line over copper. Thats about 6.5 times the bandwidth, and about twice the price of T1.

    Its taken a while to install (last message from xo was that it was running at 100 mbps, I didn't see the problem) but they also said I was the first in my area to get it.

    Worth a look, xo.com
  • by green1 (322787) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @11:46PM (#18880319)
    I work for a telco, and while I'm not privy to the marketing decisions that go in to the whole thing, I can give the reasoning as I've always seen it.

    T1s do an amazing job, they are rock solid, and work at distances that DSL simply can't, they have guaranteed bandwidth and service level agreements that involve penalties to the telco if they go down. For companies that truly NEED that connection they're irreplaceable.
    All that said, for an awful lot of businesses our DSL packages at 4meg down and 1 meg up are plenty, and a fraction of the cost.

    Now for the reasoning, T1s are a royal pain from the telco side of things, they work so well because they use such high powers to make sure that they are heard (close to 300V instead of 52 for telephone) but this causes all sorts of trouble, due to the crosstalk these things put out every T1 line that's installed reduces the number of ADSL customers we can put in the same cable, one T1 line can easily destroy the ability to carry DSL in the same binder group (25 pairs) and over longer distances or with several T1 lines can wipe out the whole cable for DSL. This is a major problem for us, so if we're going to have to work around these sorts of issues, we want it to be worth our while. that doesn't even go in to factors such as the equipment, a DSL modem costs about $50 or less these days, but a T1 "modem" is in the thousands, same deal with the equipment at the other end of the line, then you add the line conditioning that has to be done on longer lines when provisioning a T1, and the list goes on.

    DSL is a great product, if you don't absolutely need a T1, then by all means take advantage of the fact that DSL lines are dirt cheap these days.
    but when you need a T1 and nothing else will do, don't complain about the cost, it is after all your choice.
  • High prices (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lando (9348) <.lando2+slash. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @06:29AM (#18882299) Homepage Journal
    Not sure why this person thinks that T1 lines are still expensive. True they do cost more than DSL lines, but I would just like to point out that my T1 line in 2000 cost 1495/mth vs 1750 in 97 or 98 and that nowdays you can get a T1 for around 500/mth which to me seems to be significantly cheaper.

    This is in Atlanta, Georgia. Not sure what prices are running in other regions of the country.

  • by m.dillon (147925) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @01:00PM (#18887015) Homepage
    I've had a T1 going into my home for years, paying around $300/month for it. The T1 itself is guarenteed bandwidth but you usually do not terminate it at the phone company. Instead the T1 gets terminated at an ISP (which can be the phone company but is usually not). Well, ok, in REALITY the T1 is usually bundled into a T3 or fiber and THEN terminated at an ISP, but the bandwidth is still guarenteed up until the ISP. You don't go into a packet switch until you hit the ISPs network and it doesn't really matter until you hit the ISP's backhaul to the internet. At that point there is usually so much bandwidth that you get the full T1 rate 'to the internet'.

    I have experimented with DSL, but it doesn't compare. For one thing, I serve out a lot of data... my T1's pipe is usually 100% full in the outgoing direction all the time. I can't afford to have hicups. I had a backup DSL line for a while but the outgoing bandwidth sucked rocks. For another, the T1 is considered a special business line and when something goes wrong, the phone company hops on it immediately (though I still have to talk to two entities.. the phone company and the ISP). Still, things get fixed fairly quickly compared to a normal phone line.

    Is it worth $300/month for 1.5 MBits in both directions with guarenteed bandwidth and guarenteed quick service? It probably wouldn't be for your run of the mill power user, but for someone like me who is serving out an open source project and managing half a dozen domains, web sites, and mail for friends and family, I just can't afford to have too much downtime or unmanaged bandwidth.

    I still have to research a possible cable solution. I haven't heard of the cable company having a guarenteed bandwidth service with that much uplink but who knows, maybe they've done it while I wasn't looking. I dunno about reliability, service, or ping times, though. I kinda like having a 4ms ping.

    I wish there were fiber on my street. Maybe some day.

    -Matt

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