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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico • Page 32

Albuquerque, New Mexico
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0 0100 EV table mo hi palm a 9 BUSINESS OUTLOOK 2 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1996 YOUR TURN Inside ROSE Reliance reigns as top steel supplier Gerald Rodriguez loads steel bars onto a truck at Reliance Steel Aluminum Co. Since the Los Angeles-based giant arrived In Albuquerque nine years ago, it has bought out three other firms to become the largest supplier of steel in the city. OP A few Hotel years ago, industry all across gears North for America, the growth hotel industry began to emerge from a long economic slumber caused by overbuilding in the 1980s and the 1990-92 recession. Today, the industry is fully awake and gearing up to add new hotels and amenities in the aftermath of surveys which show occupancy levels and room rates climbing. 28 If the Retailers nation's retailers may think face they a had a bleak tough year '96 in 1995, including one of the most disappointing Christmas seasons in recent history, this year could be even worse.

Some retail analysts predict that as many as 2,000 stores nationwide will close their doors in 1996, and other experts fear it could be even worse, especially for apparel retailers. Columns Legal Matters 10 Investors Guide 21 Your Taxes 17 Investments 22 Stock Choices 20 Regular Features Air Fares 6 Meetings 16 Incorporations 7 Bankruptcies 18 Briefcase 12 Money Rates 24 Staff Business Editor Steve McMillan, 823-3830 Assistant Business Editor David Staats, 823-3835 Reporters Barbara Chavez: Retail, Tourism, 823-3832 Jeff Jones: Real Estate, Transportation, 823-3962 Peggy Lee O'Neill: Health Care, 823-3836 Maggie Sieger: Industry, Issues, 823-3831 David Staats: Utilities, Telecommunications, 823-3835 Editorial Assistant Robin Frames: Briefcase, General Information, 823-3834 Copy Editor James Abarr Designer Steve Brown Business Dept. Fax 823-3994 Advertising 823-3311 1 bard A breakdown on how West designed pricing plan for ISDN BY SCOTT BERMAN Director, Circuit Switched Services, US West Communications After reading the guest commentary from professors Peter Anselmo and Victor Yodaiken (Business Outlook, Jan. 29), I found mostly common ground. Like most of the folks at US West, I agree that access to the worldwide computer network will be absolutely essential to our lives and to our children's lives in years to come.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) technology is an outstanding means of making that access available and affordable to many New Mexicans. ISDN technology, which will be available to New Mexico customers following state Corporation Commission hearings that begin Wednesday, provides faster connections to worldwide networks and facilitates multiple business and personal activities, including access to remote databases and informa- et bull one GUEST via ticula bi the and BERMAN: Pricing is most affordable in U.S. tion sources, telecommuting, and Internet transactions. I also agree that creating a society of information haves and have-nots is a danger of the information age and one that can be avoided through increasing availability of technologies like ISDN. All of these issues were of primary consideration when my team and I designed ISDN pricing.

Clearly, professors Anselmo and Yodaiken didn't have an opportunity to review a comprehensive description of US West's proposed ISDN pricing for New Mexico, which is, in fact, among the most affordable in the United States. The pricing plan is fairly simple, and includes three options: $39 a month plus a per-minute charge for use. This option is intended to provide economical service for customers who need only occasional access to highspeed data communications. $68 a month for 200 hours of use the equivalent of 10 hours of use a workday in an average month. This option provides virtually unlimited ISDN service for most users, and is the one most often selected by consumers and small businesses people like the Colfax County rancher, the Acoma potter and the trucker described in last week's commentary.

$184 a month for unlimited, high- volume use. This option is targeted to fewer than 5 percent of our customers who need industrial-strength, 24-hour, ongoing high-speed data communications capability, including some businesses that have traditionally relied on more expensive, dedicated high-speed lines. This option is not targeted to consumers and small businesses. It actually separates the high cost of providing industrial strength usage to specialized business customers from prices appropriate for everyone else. This pricing plan allows our customers to choose the option most economical for them, given varying levels of use.

Does our pricing represent a fair deal? You decide. Many other U.S. telephone companies don't offer flatrated ISDN service, and measured rates range up to $90 a month plus usage. Most other phone companies charge more than $200 a month for customers who use ISDN more than 200 hours a month. Let me touch a bit more on costs.

Last week's commentary indicated that ISDN costs West very little more than offering regular telephone service. According to the authors, all that has to happen is that some software in the switching system is changed. This is not accurate. To offer ISDN, US West must equip each of its central office switches with specialized ISDN hardware and software. This can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per switch.

We can often use existing copper wires to supply ISDN service to customers once the switches are equipped, but those wires must be specially conditioned to support ISDN. That means Load Coils and Bridge Taps (sorry for the lingo) which are OK for basic phone service must be removed from every line used for ISDN. Additionally, special line-extension hardware is often necessary to send the ISDN digital signal to the customer location at a cost of between $400 and $2,500 a customer. As a US West customer, you need to determine the relative usefulness of the service versus its cost to you just as you do with most other consumer decisions. I take heart in the knowledge that our service is, in fact, a good deal.

I also want to address the issue of ISDN's impact on education. Again, I agreed with professors Anselmo and Yodaiken. All students must have access to electronic communication to compete effectively in the 21st century. ISDN is one of many technologies that can make that possible. As a company, our commitment to education is clear.

Within the last five years, US West has awarded more than $3 million in grants to support New Mexico education. Additionally, the company has initiated programs that have trained hundreds of public school teachers and administrators to use the Internet effectively to enhance the education of students all students not just the haves. In cases where we can use ISDN in support of our commitment to education, we will. We also have a commitment to New Mexico. US West invests more than $100 million every year in the enhancement and expansion of New Mexico's telecommunications infrastructure.

That investment is aimed at ensuring that New Mexicans aren't have-nots in the information age. To get information about ISDN, customers can call 1-800- PATHWAY, or 1-800-728-4929, and use TouchTone phones to request information by fax. Customers also can access ISDN information through the US West Home Page on the Worldwide Web. The address is Bonjour Bagel opens first Albuquerque franchise Bonjour Bagel has opened Woldman and Barbara Bayer plan Booth said among the more popuits first Albuquerque franchise at to eventually operate six in lar bagels are the chocolate- choco9311 Coors NW, just north of Paseo the area.

late-chip and green-chile flavors. In del Norte. Bonjour Bagels is based in addition, certain specialties are The restaurant features 22 vari- Pasadena, and plans to featured each month, such as eties of bagels as well as sandwich- expand throughout the country February's strawberry bagel and es, salads, coffees, teas, and other within the year. chocolate raspberry coffee. drinks and desserts.

It offers seat- "All the ingredients we use are Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 6 ed dining, take-out, commercial natural and preservative-free," p.m., Sunday through Tuesday, and accounts and catering. said Bayer, president of the new 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday Jennifer Booth, front-of-the-store business. "Everything is made through Saturday.

Call 897-2525. manager, said owners Bill from scratch at our site." Robin Frames polin La an..

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