Abstract: The telecommunications industry is entering an exciting and challenging period. The traditional circuitswitched telephone network is proving increasingly inadequate to deal with the demands being placed on it. In the core of the network, new technology has reduced packet switch prices well below circuit switch prices. This is pressuring traditional network operators to upgrade their networks, and has also created a new class of packet-based network operators. Meanwhile, at the edge of the network, new services such as internet access and electronic commerce are stimulating subscriber demand for high speed data access. Between the core of the network and its edge lies some critical territory: the local copper loop. In spite of new access technologies (wireless, cable, etc), copper loop will be the means by which most subscribers access the network for some time. Consequently, the challenge for established network operators is to find efficient ways of deploying data technology and services, while working within the constraints imposed by existing copper loops. This paper explores the costs associated with a number of internet offload architectures. These are combined voice / data network architectures, which allow dialup internet traffic to be re-directed off the telephone network and onto data networks for more cost-effective transport. Offload architectures are of interest not only because they can substantially reduce the cost of transporting internet traffic, but also because they are an initial step towards internet telephony and more extensive voice / data integration
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