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November 12, 1995

Setting up ISDN can
be a real headache

By Timothy C. Barmann

There's always a price to pay when you are among the first to try something, as Ralph Lawson of North Kingstown found out.

The self-employed management consultant ordered an ISDN line for his home about a year ago. He said he waited four months before a NYNEX technician came to install the line, but his troubles didn't end there.

He took meticulous notes of what followed:

On 3/17 at 9:30 a.m., Butch, who had never done an installation of ISDN before, arrived to do my installation. ... He worked on it all day and wasn't successful. ...

On 3/20 Butch calls. Said someone from Boston has been dispatched to fix the problem. ... They didn't have anybody in Rhode Island who could fix that.

But the next day, his ISDN line was up and working.

Lawson says he uses it to connect to the Internet, for videoconferencing with his daughter in Pennsylvania, and to just learn more about ISDN technology.

``It's wonderful,'' he said. ``Browsing the Web and getting images to pop up _ it's terrific.''

But he continues to have problems getting his bill straightened out with NYNEX. He said he has been overbilled some $800 and that NYNEX acknowledges the billing mistake, but still hasn't corrected his account.

(NYNEX spokeswoman Tracy Kennedy said she couldn't discuss Lawson's account because it's ``proprietary'' information.)

`Very helpful'

Dan Benson of Newport had a more positive experience installing ISDN in his home, where he works with his father. They do pre-press work for a New York book publisher. Benson also works as a technical support consultant.

After ordering the ISDN line about two months ago, it was installed in just two weeks.

He said he found NYNEX to be ``very, very helpful.''

He had ``tons of trouble'' getting his computer to talk to the ISDN line, he said. When he called NYNEX to report his problem, they called him back and came out to check the line at no charge. ``So far they've been absolutely great.''

But his experience using ISDN has been ``rocky,'' Benson said. He thinks his ``terminal adapter,'' the device that connects the computer to the ISDN line, is faulty. (The phone company doesn't supply this hardware. He suggests ISDN users find out which terminal adapter your Internet providers uses and buy the same model.)

Still, he's excited about the speed ISDN allows him to access the Internet. ``You don't sit there and bang your head up against the wall,'' he said.

Timothy C. Barmann is a Journal-Bulletin staff photographer. His column runs every other Sunday on the On Line page. Send him comments via e-mail at tim@cybertalk.com or U.S. mail, c/o the Journal-Bulletin, 75 Fountain St., Providence, R.I. 02902.