Verizon’s recent announcement that it would soon be limiting ISDN installs, and even withdrawing ISDN infrastructure support in some states (http://www.radioworld.com/article/alert-for-isdn-users/218605) finally has some professional studios and broadcast operations seeking viable alternatives.
What are they finding? Not much.
This was an email to me last week in reaction to my blog of March 28th: Verizon Dropping ISDN in Some States.
“…just came across your blog as I was researching alternatives for ISDN. I am the IT supervisor for an arena with sports teams that use ISDN for radio broadcast. As Verizon has announced their intentions to end new ISDN installs, we have started researching ways to bridge the gap and best solutions for the future. Do you know of any hardware that could help us bridge the gap until IP becomes the more prevalent option…?”
My answer was probably not what he wanted to hear. It’s a bleak landscape for hardware alternatives to ISDN. I referred him to Dave Immer at Digifon…about the highest authority I know in this realm.
That same concerned IT supervisor soon answered me:
“…we’ve been coming to the same conclusions that there is no hardware solution to replicate an ISDN line in the interim while radio stations and radio broadcasters transition to IP based solutions. Our biggest concern is hitting a situation where we are contractually obligated to supply ISDN and will not be able to do so. Right now we are looking into an ISDN card for our VoIP phone system to see if we can provide something. We hope more of our tenant sports teams will move to IP based equipment, but its been slow going to make the change…”
Yup…it’s starting to hit home.
BTW, I did pick up this brief from Dave Immer’s newsletter recently, in which he basically uses some of the strongest cautionary language I’ve ever heard from Digifon:
“…the relentless drumbeat of doom for ISDN pounds with every fraught report of major telcos plans to discontinue offering new accounts. While I have encountered pockets of service areas where the local phone company has stopped offering new copper accounts, I have not yet seen wide spread refusal to install ISDN by any provider. Further, those who already have ISDN are “grandfathered in” and are not in danger of losing it.
Still, we can all see the writing on the wall: fiber and wireless packet-switched data is where communications are positioned because that is where the demand and profit is.
But recognizing that ISDN is still the top-end remote production network, my advice is to hold on to your circuits for as long as you can. And for those who have been thinking of getting ISDN, do it now. It will make your studio more valuable.
I expect there will be improvements in streaming and the public internet which will eventually enable more reliable low-delay transmissions. But until that time comes the best is still ISDN.
Let me know if you have seen any memos from telcos discontinuing new ISDN service…” Dave Immer
Oddly, I just picked up some steady work last week — from of all places, Bahrain — and their preferred method of transmission? Source-Connect.