More Facts RE: ISDN Service and AT&T

by | ISDN, Studio Equipment, Technology, Voice Over, Voiceover

I use AT&T and have done so for several years as a long-distance and ISP, in addition to my ISDN service, here is the San Diego area.  I also own a Telos Zephyr , which has been 100% reliable on my AT&T lines here in Southern California. So my antaenne went up when I received the the following, plus I’ve also done some of my own investigation into this information. Read on!

In the past week I’ve received the following three times last week from credible sources:

If you use ISDN, or you have clients or Talent
that use ISDN, please forward this to them, and tell them to show it to whoever
handles their phone service. For about two weeks, some of us have been
experience some real problems connecting via ISDN to certain areas of the
country. Southern CA is the worst for me. I called Telos, and they told me I am
not alone. It is a severe problem in some areas, and it is only affecting those
who have long distance service through AT&T. Telos says they can no longer
recommend anyone use AT&T for ISDN long distance, and to switch to Sprint or
MCI as soon as possible. (Telos tech support is 216.241.7225 if you want to ask
them about it.) It may take up to two weeks to make this change, but in the
meantime there is a simple workaround. To force your ISDN session to go through
Sprint, simply add the numbers 1010 333 to the ISDN dial up numbers. For
instance, if you normally dialing 1-555-555-1212 and 1-555-555-1213, instead
just dial 1010 333 1-555-555-1212 and 1010 333 1-555-555-1213. I have done this
several times, and my “problem” clients have as well, and it seems to work
perfectly. One more warning that we all need to make some long-term plans for
the demise of ISDN. It is 30-year-old technology, and a local AT&T
technician told me many of the circuit boards in the local ISDN routing network
are failing regularly from age.

I contacted Telos tech support’s Ted Alexander this morning and spoke about this post to see if Telos was aware of it. Ted confirmed Telos has received about a half-dozen calls  in the last week, and also stated the post  that’s circulating the web may be pushing the “fear factor”  a bit.

Here are some  facts that came from Ted at Telos:

  • Telos does not recommend nor endorse one telco over another, (that would be illegal) but merely reports issues that arise from users of their products.

  • The Telephone companies, including AT&T have filed for a “sunset date” on POTS lines, but it’s definitely not panic time. 

  • Some of the telephone company’s issues with sales and service of POTS lines and ISDN will be dealt with on the political level, and will be legislated within the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) And we know how long THAT may take!

  • It will eventually become more difficult to order ISDN in the future, and in some localities, it is completely unavailable right now.

  • Whenever there is an ISDN  ATT or carrier outage, the “workaround” to switch to Sprint, or MCI  as described above has been in place for a long time.

  • If you do use the workaround, be prepared to pay extra per call. And remember, most voice talents need not worry because most of the time we’re dialing out. But the work around is certainly handy to provide a client who cannot connect!
  • Other Facts from Telos:

    ISDN will eventually be replaced by IP technology. But  this will take some time.  We’re in the transition between analogue to digital. IP digital technology isn’t “there yet”. It’s not reliable enough and requires more bandwidth. IP needs to become more efficient to reduce distortion and delays related to satellite signal bounces, etc., like when a cell phone call may drop.

    We have a way to go, But Telos already has an internet- ready codec about 3 years old called the ZIP Zephyr IP. The 2-ZIP is in its final testing and about to be released. The high-speed next generation IP unit is still about 2-3 years out. 

    The IP unit will only connect with another IP unit. In other words, your client must have one also.

    Ted aptly stated,, “We’re building cards. Someone else built the highway. Your mileage may vary”

At a holiday gathering a couple of months ago I met the Director of Western Sales of Telos.  We spoke the other day


  1. thank you, bobbin.

    musicam also has an IP-ready box in it’s “Road Warrior”, the successor to the “Road Runner”. i admit i haven’t investigated how to use that side of the machine while I’m doing ISDN, but i have a feeling i’ll have to do so before either the box or i finally wear out.


  2. Hi Rowell,
    You’re so funny! That last line of your post  comment cracked me up.

    Yes,  there are a number of IP codecs already available from Tie-line,   Comrex , the hybrid AudioTx, and there will be more coming no doubt
    Thanks for joining in the discussion.

    Best of Everything,

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