DSL fast lane here
by Lenny Roberts
Throw away your analog modems, Ojai, and join the 21st century.
While all of the valley may not be able to use the service because
of distance restraints, Michael Carney, SBC Pacific Bell's director
of external affairs, said Wednesday that most of Ojai's 3,700
Pac Bell residential and business customers will now be able
to purchase a high-speed digital subscriber line Internet access
known as DSL.
Howard Smith, Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce board member who,
while president, spearheaded a three-year effort to bring high-speed
Internet access to Ojai businesses and residences, said he was
delighted that Pac Bell was finally able to deliver on its promise
to make DSL available.
"It's great for the community in general and businesses
in particular," he said.
Smith recalled how community input from a governmental affairs
committee known as VESPA, the Village Economic Support Project
Ad-Hoc Committee, revealed that DSL emerged far and away as the
No. 1 need for local businesses to compete in today's market.
Beginning in 1998, supporters began urging Pac Bell to provide
DSL as a means to keep Ojai's economy competitive, create more
jobs and secure new, non-polluting businesses. Then Ojai Mayor
Suza Francina, Supervisor Kathy Long, Assemblywoman Hanna Beth
Jackson, Sen. Jack O'Connell and Rep. Elton Gallegly either wrote
letters or called Pac Bell to voice support for local DSL service.
"We obviously put a lot of effort in the early stages with
Michael and all the elected officials, from Elton Gallegly on
down to the city level. They all supported this and it's great
to see it come to fruition," Smith said.
Chamber President Scott Eicher echoed Smith, saying, "I'm
really pleased. There are a lot of people who want it. DSL will
make things a lot more convenient, and it will make Ojai more
attractive to new businesses."
Carney said although it may have seemed like it was a long time
coming, it all happened very quickly by industry standards. He
added that the sudden departure of Sprint ION, which for a short
time occupied space in Ojai's Pac Bell central office, had no
bearing on Pac Bell's decision to provide DSL.
"It's great that it worked out that way," Carney said.
"But even if Sprint were still here, consumers would have
found out that we have a terrific product at a great price."
DSL provides Internet service at up to 200 times the speed of
analog, or 56k dialup modems, and simultaneously carries data
and voice traffic over existing copper phone lines at connection
speeds up to 6 megabytes per second for premium service. Basic
service, which includes 384Kbps to 1.5Mbps/128Kbps, unlimited
"instantly available Internet access 24 hours a day, 11
e-mail accounts, a personal, 15 MB Web page and more costs $49.95
per month with no cost for equipment or installation on a 12-month
contract. The limitation is that the farther you are from Pac
Bell's Ventura Street/Ojai Avenue central office, the slower
the speed. Also, if your business or residence line is more than
14,000 telephone line feet from the office, DSL will not work.
To determine if DSL will work, enter your 640- or 646- telephone
number online at pacbell.com Carney said DSL takes between seven
and 10 working days after the order is placed to be up and running.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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