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]: »Re: Goodby Qwest!
Excluding web/mail servers and the like, a DSL connection consists of the following path elements (applies specifically for non-FTTN):
1. Local loop- copper between the DSLAM and the customer modem.
2. DSLAM trunk- ATM T1s, DS3, or OC3.
3. ATM cloud- the ATM switches and internodal trunks between switches.
4. ISP trunk- the ATM trunk (T1s, DS3 or higher for 3M and above customer speeds) that feeds the ISP gateway router.
Elements 1-3 are the same (depending on the ATM cloud path) regardless whether Qwest or a 3rd party ISP like Xmission are providing IP services. 4 will be different, as it's a dedicated trunk to the ISP router. So while much of the network is the same, it's not completely the same physical network.
[Added by [ christcorp ]: Let me add one caveat. Some ISP's offering DSL do have their own DSLAMS in town. As such, #1; their local loop many times would be a dry pair of wires from their home/business to their ISP's DSLAM. In this case, other than a cross connect of copper, not of Qwest's DSL path is shared with the customer or his/her ISP. later... mike...]