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Current Topic: Telecom Industry

FCC largely keeps phone rules intact
Topic: Telecom Industry 1:33 am EST, Feb 21, 2003

] The FCC commissioners, voting 3-2 with Chairman Michael
] Powell dissenting, agreed to let the states maintain a
] strong role in regulating the Bells.
] Under current rules, the Bells have to let rivals use
] their local networks at sharp discounts. They also have
] to let rivals "share" their local phone lines to deliver
] high-speed Internet service.
] The FCC did rule that line-sharing rules will be phased
] out over three years, with the Bells allowed to raise
] prices "incrementally" each year on the portion of copper
] wire used to deliver high-speed Internet. But the agency
] stopped short of the more drastic changes the Bells
] wanted.

FCC largely keeps phone rules intact

Why don't I have VoIP?
Topic: Telecom Industry 12:13 am EST, Jan 20, 2003

I think there are some people on this site who might have good answers to this question.

Why don't I have VoIP? I've got broadband. All my friends have broadband. I pull down high fidelity internet radio all the time. But, when I want to talk to my friends I pick up the phone. What is the deal?

I don't even want to interconnect to the POTs system, but while I'm talking about this, used to offer free ad supported voice calls. Now they have a VoIP calling card system. Did the economics not work out or were people turned off by the quality level??

Is there some software out there for this that I just don't know about? Is there some technical problem that prevents this from working, or is the problem economic?

Aren't the service providers looking for ways to expand bandwidth utilization? Why aren't they working on this stuff?

What IS the deal?

RE: The Paradox of the Best Network
Topic: Telecom Industry 3:16 pm EST, Jan 19, 2003

Jeremy wrote:

] * Acknowledge that non-Internet communications equipment ...
] is economically obsolete ...

I'm interested in hearing what other people on the site think about this.

I agree with many of the things being said here, but I've stopped short of recommending this in the past. There seems to be an irrational undercurrent in this that wants to say "my stuff is better then your stuff" in an absolutist and unthinking way. There are certainly serious problems and limitations with the Internet Protocol suite, and in the last few years the quality of the "standards" the IETF and similar bodies have been producing has dropped dramatically.

IP didn't win because its the most capable solution. It won because it existed in an environment where the telecom monopolies were actively trying to stall the development of digital networks, and IP was the hardest solution to control.

Hard to control doesn't always been optimal. Gnutella is not more efficient then napster.

Having said that, I think its clear that IP has "won" and that with the deployment of IP being so ubiquitous that any future development must, at least, interoperate with it in order to be useful. I don't think we're going to replace it with something else anytime soon.

I raise this counter point only to provide the perspective needed to see what I think the FCC ought to be doing, which is that they ought to be agnostic. The FCC should no more prefer IP based solutions then other solutions. What it should do is create an environment where its possible for different solutions to be made available... an environment where it is possible to innovate. I don't want the government choosing a technological direction, and a future where non-IP based solutions are simply not possible is as much a threat to innovation as a future where the only technologies that are allowed are the ones that benefit the telecom companies.

RE: The Paradox of the Best Network

Shirky: Customer-owned Networks and ZapMail
Topic: Telecom Industry 8:02 pm EST, Jan  8, 2003

] "Telcos gain billions in service fees from [...] services
] like Call Forwarding and Call Waiting [...]. Hence, capex
] programs that shift a telco, say, from TDM to IP, as in a
] softswitch approach that might have less capital
] intensity, must absolutely preserve the revenue stream."

Essay on the impact that digital networks have on RBOC revenue streams.

Shirky: Customer-owned Networks and ZapMail

Some thoughts on that last post...
Topic: Telecom Industry 2:59 am EST, Dec 18, 2002

1. Ultimately, No. Wires supply bandwidth to wireless endpoint devices. Small cells = more bandwidth. This means you're going to want a wire in your house, just like you have now. There may be a transitional phase where you are routing backbone traffic across a wireless device, but eventually you're going to want that bandwidth locally. This is especially true in urban areas. Rural areas may need less in the way of wires. You may see rural wired telecom go away.

2. I want a device that streams over wifi and is a phone and is a PDA and is an mp3 player. Streaming will provide a short term IP solution. VoIP will happen because I don't want to also carry a phone, so my wifi phone from my house is also my wifi phone outside my house is also my ipod...

3. WiFi sort of. More bandwidth will be allocated. It will be more controlled. It will look a little like cellular ultimately, but more open. You'll have the same sort of AP in your house that your cellular company has out in the street. Small cells win. Platforms you can innovate on win. Using the same network card in my house, office, and on the street wins. 3G is a high power big cell solution that doesn't work for everything. You will PAY to use your neighbor's wifi. The networks will charge a flat rate and pay people who run access points a metered amount.

4. I have no idea. In some cases yes. In other cases no. This is basically how telcos generate cash to pay down debt; let the local government eat them... It will depend on how well the telco managers deal with their debt problems, if they can be dealt with at all.

5. The cost of dealing with this on top of the current debt load could really kill the RBOCS. I have no idea about Cisco/Lucent/Nortel.

6. I don't know on the technical side. However, I think the IETF is too dogmatic for its own good. Its totally subverted by the vendors and cannot see its own flaws. It may become irrelevant very rapidly as running code tends not to be produced there anymore. The market makes you interoperate, and having a standard is as easy as publishing a document. Interoperable standards always win. If people need QOS, the networks will build it. The networks will eliminate IP spoofing and solve the relay problem. These will be features that the router companies offer the ISPs/updates to sendmail. You will need to explicitly tell the network if you want to provide a service, and your OS will update automatically every night. You may do MPLS tagging on your desktop. The networks can enforce MTUs. It will be "IP" but it might look a hell of a lot like ATM and the network will become as smart as possible in an attempt to avoid commoditization of the service.

Now, who the hell should I invest in? I have no idea who is going to make the right decisions here, and there are many people in positions to do so. Shame I'm not one of them.

RE: Telecommunications layoffs mount worldwide
Topic: Telecom Industry 2:16 am EST, Dec 18, 2002

swater wrote:

] again. To them it's just the inherent problem of market
] economies, but there's got to be a way around this besides
] cumbersome planned economies. Ideas??

One problem is that the analysts aren't objective. They are too tied into everything. Its more then just the auditors doing the accounting, its the investment banks doing the IPOs. There needs to be more checks and balances in the way the financial system is organized.

I think that one could fund a non profit analyst firm. The guys are simply not allowed to own stocks or do anything but publish, and the publications are free. Like an NPR for detailed market analysis. One way to do this would be through government funding, but then it gets political. If it was totally independant, well funded, and properly staffed, then it might provide a reasonable buffer against instability.

A easier solution would be to fund a buffer organization which simply runs advertisements on financial news programs that present information counter to the grain of the market direction WHATEVER that may be. An organization that is specifically intended to identify and fight market irrationality.

Another thing, which has been discussed here before, is the need for strong economic leadership from the top. The president needs to make people FEEL confident that things are under control and moving forward, and there are things to look forward too and work for. This president is not doing this at all.

However, sometimes you just CAN'T tell whats going to happen. Look at telecom right now.

1. Will wireless eliminate the demand for pots lines?
2. What will drive domestic broadband demand? VoIP, Online Games, a solution to the copyright problem? If any, then when, exactly?
3. Will WiFi or 3G win the coming wireless wars?
4. Will asset based telecom take off? To what extent?
5. If/when 2 happens, how rapidly will the RBOCs shift to an IP based infrastructure? Will Nortel and Lucent be able to translate the IP oriented companies they bought during the boom into products that will meet this demand, or will Cisco or a startup snap up all of this stuff?
6. Will the "stupid net" actually prevail, or will demand for higher quality synchronous communications and better network security lead to something more like ATM? If the later, then how will things evolve in that direction from the existing IP based network? (Will MPLS and RSVP provide similar capability? Will the service providers prefer to give priority to packets based on who sent them rather then on what they contain?)

These are all interesting things to think about. Lots of people seem to have strong opinions, but I don't buy it. It seems like trying to figure out who was going to own the PC market in 2002 by looking at the situation in 1982. We might be able to make some technological predictions, but the social situation, and which companies will do the right things.... thats almost impossible to predict accurately.

RE: Telecommunications layoffs mount worldwide

Telling the FCC to tell the Bells to take a long walk...
Topic: Telecom Industry 12:21 am EDT, Oct 22, 2002

"We hold that the primary cause of current telecom troubles is that Internet-based end-to-end data networking has subsumed (and will subsume) the value that was formerly embodied in other communications networks. This, in turn, is causing the immediate obsolescence of the vertically integrated, circuit-based telephony industry of 127 years vintage. "

A lot of smart people tell the FCC to let the Bells die. I'm not sure what I think of this. Some of the comments are most certainly true, but there is a self-congradulatory tone here. "Circuits are bad; everything thats not IP oriented is bad policy" is every bit as protectionist as the opposite philosophy. The Internet has serious problems, and most of the industry is so blinded by its success that they cannot turn a critical eye to it. They sound like the winners of the French Revolution chanting "off with their heads."

Telling the FCC to tell the Bells to take a long walk...

Odlyzko on the Broadband industry
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:49 pm EDT, Oct 17, 2002

"The impractical method for stimulating broadband adoption is to make music free on the Internet.... Total recorded music sales in the US come to a grand total of about $15 billion per year, while telecom spending is over 20 times higher.... (It would also demonstrate that the content tail should not be wagging the telecom dog, as it too often does in political, legal, and business discussions.)

A more practical method for stimulating broadband is to encourage
migration of voice calls to cell phones (which currently carry well
under 20% of total voice traffic). This would force the Baby Bells to utilize the competitive advantage of wired links by pushing broadband connectivity.

The third technique for stimulating broadband is to encourage innovative new wireless technologies."

Odlyzko on the Broadband industry

Lucent warns on fourth quarter, cites lower sales. - Sep. 13, 2002
Topic: Telecom Industry 12:14 pm EDT, Sep 13, 2002

"The company said it expects an operating loss per share of 45 cents, sharply lower than the 16-cents-a-share loss forecast by analysts, according to earnings tracker First Call. The troubled telecommunications equipment maker also said it sees 20-to-25 percent lower revenue in the fourth quarter from the $2.95 billion it recorded in the third quarter.

Lucent blamed the lower forecast on the declining revenue and charges associated with a significant customer that defaulted on financing terms earlier this month. "


Lucent warns on fourth quarter, cites lower sales. - Sep. 13, 2002

The COOK Report On Internet
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:18 pm EDT, Sep  3, 2002

This issue of the COOK Report explores peering, transit and exchanges for the first time since about 1999. While a lot has changed, a lot remains the same.

Estimates of the capacity utilization of the Tier 1 backbones show them to be lightly utilized ... Over the past five weeks we have had conversations ... [which] suggest that the [Tier 1] oligopoly is engaging in behavior that could blow up in a manner similar to the capacity swaps that blew up earlier this year.

ISPs are beginning to use tools to do load balancing of their upstream connections in real time.

The Tier Ones, by peering in their tight oligopoly, may have rendered themselves irrelevant.

Andrew Odlyzko: "I find the prospects of smaller networks being able to bypass the Tier Ones fascinating. The development of tools [that do this] is also very interesting."

The COOK Report On Internet

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