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Caller ID takes a few steps ahead.

CALLER ID TAKES A FEW STEPS AHEAD

It may be extreme to say that as Caller ID goes, so goes ISDN.

But the two are closely connected, and delivery of an incoming telephone number is one of the more obvious benefits of ISDN.

That's why recent developments on the Caller ID front are heartening. There is a successful test of name and number display, and an approach to number blocking that may provide just enough of a disincentive to frequent use.

The Northern Telecom-US West name display trial took place in Grand Forks, N.D., where 120 residential and small business customers used special equipment to display the caller's name and number as the phone rang.

Software on a DMS-100 switch serving Grand Forks matched the caller's name to the number, to the apparent delight of users.

"Customers were extremely pleased with being able to see the name of the person calling," relates Terri Ford, U.S. West project manager." They felt it added a great deal to the Caller ID service."

At first, customers received the caller's number on a Northern Maestro phone, with a display panel for Caller ID services. In the second two-month phase of the trial, customers used a prototype unit from Northern that displays name and number.

A second trial, giving 45,000 residential and business customers in Boise, Idaho, a chance to buy the Caller ID Name Display service, begins in January and will last about six months.

45-Cent Blocking

The ability to block a number from delivery is the hot issue in Caller ID controsies. Foes argue that if a called party sees the caller's number, it invades the privacy of the caller. They prefer the caller have the option of having his or her number delivered.

Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., a Bell Atlantic subsidiary, pitched a blocking option--a 45-cent charge--to regulators in Washington, D.C. It's not a bad approach, because that's enough of a fee so that when it is important, people will pay it, but they won't want to do it all the time--such as when they call a business, which may be set up for Caller ID with a customer information database.

Bell Atlantic offered the option grudgingly, because it contends that blocking robs Caller ID of its value.

Here's how it works: callers who don't want their numbers delivered to the called party dial "O" plus the number. They tell the operator they want a privacy call. They're connected and later billed 45 cents. That compares with the usual charge of $ 1.30 for operator-assisted calls.

The Setup preserves the security of Caller ID, because the number of the caller and called party are recorded by the telco. Abusive callers can't get around Caller ID by going through the operator. But those who have good reasons to remain anonymous are out a mere 45 cents.

In another ISDN development, AT&T announced a single-chip 2B1Q transceiver that connects ISDN users to public network facilities. Available in 1991, it will serve on the central office and customer sides of the two-wire ISDN link. The company says the transreceiver should match the performance of its current two-chip offering.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:ISDN Forum
Author:Tanzillo, Kevin
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:column
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Words:529
Previous Article:Get out of that back room today.
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