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Current Topic: Telecom Industry

Verizon Plans Steps to Prevent Another Shutdown of 911 Line
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:17 pm EST, Mar 28, 2004

] The emergency system broke down about 7:20 p.m. after a
] Verizon engineer who was making service changes to a
] bank's telephone numbers in Brooklyn inadvertently
] included numbers that are used to carry 911 calls, city
] and telephone company officials said. The numbers were
] close in sequence, the officials said.
] The 911 calls then ended up being rerouted to the bank's
] phone system, and callers heard a busy signal. City and
] Verizon officials said that while the backup system in
] place for 911 was functioning properly, it failed to pick
] up the calls because it was designed to catch a technical
] error, not a human error that would be interpreted as
] simply a change of instruction.

In a properly architected network the weakest point is the equipment configuration.

Verizon Plans Steps to Prevent Another Shutdown of 911 Line

Can They Hear You Now? - How the FBI eavesdrops on Internet phone calls (and why it sometimes can't). By David S. Bennahum
Topic: Telecom Industry 10:50 pm EST, Feb 24, 2004

] The Federal Communications Committee and the Justice
] Department are at loggerheads over a new problem in the
] war on terror: how to listen in on Internet phone calls.
] Thanks to the blistering growth of VoIP (Voice over
] Internet Protocol) services, which have been adopted by
] approximately 10 million people worldwide so far, law
] enforcement officials now worry that wiretapping may one
] day become technically obsolete. If traditional phone
] lines go the way of the horse and carriage, will the FBI
] still be able to listen in on Internet phone calls? How
] would it go about tapping one? Is it even possible?

The gateways between the Internet VoIP based phone networks and the traditional phone networks are about the only places I can picture CALEA-compliant (like) hardware/software existing. Purely Internet based VoIP networks are going to resist any type of monitoring, use crypto, and exist even if they are outlawed.

Can They Hear You Now? - How the FBI eavesdrops on Internet phone calls (and why it sometimes can't). By David S. Bennahum

Hey Michael Powell, you're too late! | CNET
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:54 pm EST, Jan 27, 2004

] Unlike companies that use the PSTN, providers of VoIP are
] not required to provide universal telephone service, 911
] emergency services or access for the hearing-impaired.
] VoIP companies do not have to pay the taxes and tariffs
] that provide these government services. Only companies
] that use the older telephone network are required to
] provide these services and thus pass on the costs of
] these government-mandated services to their customers.

There in lies the real problem with VoIP. Various critical services that require funding can wind up being left out in the cold.. However, unless I'm mistaken these were issues with cellular phone service also. That time around, they were easier to solve because it was still generally the phone company (*.*) in the driver's seat. This time around, its not going to be as easy. The phone company (*.*) has very little control over what happens on the Open Internet.

This is another situation where there may be a leadership vacuum. If no one is working on finding a way to fund these services in a way that protects the Open Internet, then someone will create a way that has no regard for the Open Internet at all.

Powell's earlier comments were very clear.. They are looking for someone to present them with an answer. The VoIP industry needs to come up with a solution to the problem, or the phone company (*.*) will.

There is another article on where Declan is throwing bombs. I agree with that article in spirit, but it blows right over the issue.. There are services that need to be funded which are important. 911 emergency service, universal access, services for the hearing impaired, etc. VoIP isn't going to be free of that..

There is reason for concern that over charging VoIP its share is a phone company (*.*) ploy to make the services less attractive. Duh. Don't let that polarize the issue, or the circuit networks win, if you catch my drift..

Update: Just noticed the AT&T is adding 911 service to their VoIP offering..

Hey Michael Powell, you're too late! | CNET

Free Wireless Everywhere / Tech visionaries' new project mirrors roots of Internet
Topic: Telecom Industry 9:58 pm EST, Jan 25, 2004

] Brewster Kahle wants to network San Francisco. All of it.

I've never actually met Kahle, but as time rolls on, he is becoming a personal hero of mine. History will see this man as an important visionary..

] It sounds like every broadband Internet service
] provider's fantasy, but it's maybe not as far-fetched as
] it seems. Over the last year or so, small, gray plastic
] boxes have begun appearing atop homes and businesses
] around San Francisco. Roof by roof, they're bringing
] Kahle's vision of ubiquitous wireless-network access
] closer to reality -- no telephone companies or cable
] providers required.

I wound up at two parties last night.. At the first one, I found myself in an interesting conversation with a guy named Bill who worked for the phone company.

We talked about asymmetric versus symmetric Internet connections for the home. We talked about the differences between centralized and decentralized systems. We talked about telecom law. We talked about natural monopolies. We talked about market conditions. Market conditions..

When has the phone company every really understood market conditions in reference to the Internet? Not that often. I think I really pissed the guy off, he just kinda got up and left after suggesting I find the bottle of wine.. I had to leave shortly after finding the wine.

Good conversation though.. I Hope I run into him again.

] "If I have data or resources in my house and somebody
] lives 50 feet away from me in their house and wants to
] be able to share data back and forth, it seems pretty silly
] that we both have to pay $50 a month for a DSL connection
] to be able to do that," says Pozar. "We should just be able
] to throw this virtual wire over our fence and be able to
] send data back and forth."

That's a market condition, right? At the very least, Open Spectrum and the ability to use it cheaply, is going to create a market condition or five. I'm not even going to try to claim I understand the ramifications of it all.. I hope the phone & cable companies don't either.

] As to the future, "we would just like to see this type of
] idea and technology copied, and matured, by many others,"
] says Kahle. "We don't see it as a large, centralized system.
] It's an idea toward making community networks operate
] at very high speeds that have distributed ownership. We'd
] just basically like to see bandwidth spread like a virus ... so
] it just builds on itself."

I've been thinking about Amateur Radio lately.

I never actually got my Ham license.. I learned (and since forgot) morse code, I was on the standard track to a novice license. At one point my father had a general license. As I understand it, that kept him out of Vietnam and in front of a radio in Gemany.. My father clearly saw value in that skill set, and was sure I had the ... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Free Wireless Everywhere / Tech visionaries' new project mirrors roots of Internet

6 Companies Get US Telecom Contracts
Topic: Telecom Industry 10:39 pm EST, Dec 31, 2003

Six companies (Ciena, Sprint, Sycamore, Juniper, Qwest, Cisco) were awarded four contracts worth at least $400 million by the United States government to build a global network with optical and data networking gear.

Analysts have said that the four contracts combined could generate almost $1 billion in the initial two years.

Someone got a new network for Christmas.

6 Companies Get US Telecom Contracts

The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF]
Topic: Telecom Industry 2:41 am EDT, Sep  5, 2003

There is much dismay and even despair over the slow pace at which broadband is advancing in the United States. This slow pace is often claimed to be fatally retarding the recovery of the entire IT industry. As a result there are increasing calls for government action, through regulation or even through outright subsidies.

A careful examination shows that broadband is full of puzzles and paradoxes, which suggests caution before taking any drastic action. As one simple example, the basic meaning of broadband is almost universally misunderstood, since by the official definition, we all have broadband courtesy of the postal system. Also, broadband penetration, while generally regarded as disappointingly slow, is actually extremely fast by most standards, faster than cell phone diffusion at a comparable stage. Furthermore, many of the policies proposed for advancing broadband are likely to have perverse effects. There are many opportunities for narrowband services that are not being exploited, some of which might speed up broadband adoption.

There are interesting dynamics to the financial and technological scenes that suggest broadband access may arrive sooner than generally expected. It may also arrive through unexpected channels. On the other hand, fiber-to-the-home, widely regarded as the Holy Grail of residential broadband, might never become widespread. In any case, there is likely to be considerable turmoil in the telecom industry over the next few years. Robust growth in demand is likely to be combined with a restructuring of the industry.

This paper also appears in the September 2003 issue of First Monday. You'll want to print it to read it, so I've linked directly to the PDF version.

The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF] | Freeing the airwaves
Topic: Telecom Industry 1:51 am EDT, Jun  1, 2003

] Should radio spectrum be treated as property, or as a
] common resource?
] WHAT is the best analogy for radio spectrum? Is it, as
] most people intuitively believe, a palpable resource like
] land, best allocated through property rights that can be
] bought and sold? Or is it, thanks to technological
] progress, more like the sea, so vast that it doesn't need
] to be parcelled out (at least for shipping traffic), in
] which case general rules on how boats should behave are
] enough to ensure that it is used efficiently.

Spectrum regulation, via Lessig's blog.. | Freeing the airwaves

Time Warner Cable dials in phone service | CNET
Topic: Telecom Industry 11:38 am EDT, May 22, 2003

] AOL Time Warner's cable division is expected to announce
] Thursday that it has begun selling unlimited local,
] in-state and domestic long-distance telephone service to
] subscribers.

Time Warner Cable dials in phone service | CNET

Shortchanged by the Bells
Topic: Telecom Industry 3:40 pm EDT, Apr 25, 2003

] The Baby Bells may have bilked consumers out of billions
] by inflating the cost of their networks. Regulators seem
] content to overlook the matter.

(Comments flynn23)

um, Hello? People have been saying this for years! When is DC going to wake up and finally JUST SAY NO to the telecom lobby? At what point do we stop paying the universal service fee, so that the Bells can fatten their margins and stranglehold the market instead of providing Grandma Jones out in the country with affordable service?

Shortchanged by the Bells

BBC NEWS | Technology | Net speed record smashed
Topic: Telecom Industry 6:04 pm EST, Mar  6, 2003

] Scientists have set a new internet speed record by
] transferring 6.7 gigabytes of data across 10,978
] kilometres (6,800 miles), from Sunnyvale in the US to
] Amsterdam in Holland, in less than one minute

... but the last mile still sucks.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Net speed record smashed

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