Who's at fault for busy signals?

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The debate over whether Internet service providers should fork over additional fees to phone companies for use of their lines was played out Thursday at the Federal Communications Commission. The phone companies have asked the FCC to charge ISPs based on their use of telephone switches. The ISPs counter that the proposed fees aren't fair.

The Internet Access Coalition, a group representing ISPs, suggests in a report issued Wedneday that any problems are in a very, very few switch sites and can be cured with small upgrades or reallocating resources. The report also said when the telephone companies ask for additional revenues, they aren't mentioning the $1.6 billion they get in additional fees from new phone lines connected for Internet service.

The coalition, however, said that in the longer term, a separate system of lines for Web traffic may be wise.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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