BRI = ISDN? (a new wrinkle)

by | Dec 9, 2013 | ISDN | 4 comments

centurylink-aIn Las Vegas, the main telephone carrier is Century Link, which before that was Embarq, and before that was Sprint.

3-4 years ago, I had the company install my ISDN lines, and the service has been solid and fairly inexpensive compared to what some others are paying now.

Rumors and hard evidence keeps mounting, though, that some of the major TelCos are eschewing new ISDN installs  in certain markets, and have jacked up the price for existing service.

But just today, I rec’d an email from Century Link about their new BRI service.  Basic Rate Interface.  Here’s the company line on what BRI is:  “Leveraging your existing copper voice lines for data connectivity lets you create a seamless, flexible, and highly cost-efficient communications system. CenturyLink™ Basic Rate Interface (BRI): Single Line Service uses an ISDN digital network architecture to enable reliable data communications without the expense of dedicated lines, modems and cabling—while accelerating both voice and data far beyond the speed of standard telephone lines.”

Got that?  Great, now explain it to me?

Some of the benefits of BRI (again, from their announcement):

  • Replace multiple voice, fax, and modem lines with two versatile ISDN channels to support data, voice, video and audio applications-with a separate phone number for each device
  • Achieve near-broadcast quality video and CD-quality audio

Somehow I think this falls short of a true replacement for the standard 2 copper lines that you need for ISDN, but BRI certainly  muddies the field a little, no?   Or are the TelCos just trying to find another way to justify keeping the cost of the ISDN infrastructure?

See the complete Century Link BRI announcement: Get Fast, Cost-Effective ISDN Data Connectivity and Voice Service over Existing Telephone Lines.




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  1. Byron Wagner


    BRI _is_ ISDN.

    BRI stands for ISDN Basic Rate Interface, 2B plus 1D (two bearer plus one data signaling channels) and is delivered over a single pair of copper wires, same as analog. A PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is 23 B plus 1D, and is delivered using a T-1 line (2 pairs).

    • CourVO


      Thanks, but they sure make it sound like a new way to make peanut butter! 🙂

      Dave C

  2. Moe Rock

    I believe my ISDN lines are BRI. Dave Immer set me up, so it must be right. ;o)

  3. John McClain

    I would be wary. We (and several others in the Las Vegas valley) have had our long distance via ISDN go down on several occasions when a Century Link engineer decided we didn’t require full bandwidth on both BRI channels. If this “new idea” from them actually takes bandwidth from us then it’s a bad deal. Not saying it will but I have zero trust in their capabilities.


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