For many years (15+), I’ve had an ISDN phone line. It’s kinda neat, you get 2 voice lines on one copper pair. Full caller ID, 3-way calling, the works. You can even make a high-speed 128k data call to other people with an ISDN line. And analog dial-up would always, always, connect at 56k.
Of course, this speed sounds kinda silly these days. My cable company gives me 10 Mb/sec down, 768k up. But back in the age of dinosaurs, it was really something.
About once a year, a big thunderstorm would zap the terminal unit on my end. No phones until I got it repaired. A few years ago, 3Com stopped fixing their boxes (Impact IQ ISDN modem). Fortunately, a friend gave me a couple of Motorola Bitsurfr boxes to keep me gong.
Every time I needed a feature changed, it would take me about an hour to convince the phone company that there is a service called ISDN. And it’s handled by a completely separate department.
On the 26th of this month, they’ll swing my service over to a pair of analog phone lines. Took “only” 45 minutes and 3 different departments to set up. It’ll cost me $7 more per phone initially, but then I’ll be able to swap those lines to Internet-based communications.
Anyway, back to a technology that Alexander Graham Bell invented…