32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for December 16, 2013
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Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 19:26:32 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Cell Carriers Agree to Unlock Phones Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> By Mitchell Lazarus, ComLawBlogg, December 13, 2013 | Deal comes just ahead of a threatened FCC rulemaking. | | This week the FCC had planned to consider a rule that would | require cell companies to allow "unlocking" of their phones | for transfer to a competing carrier. Unlocking phones used to | be legal, until a 2012 ruling by the Librarian of Congress - | at the cell companies' request - made it a criminal offense. | The public backlash reached the White House, on whose behalf, | reportedly, the National Telecommunications and Information | Administration petitioned the FCC to take the issue away from | the Librarian and make unlocking legal again. | | On the very day the FCC was to address the matter, the cell | companies' trade association, CTIA-The Wireless Association, sent a | letter to the FCC essentially capitulating. Five major carriers - | AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless - have | now agreed to unlock a phone on request after fulfillment of the | (usually) two-year contract required when buying a subsidized phone | through the carrier, or within one year of buying a prepaid | phone. Matter closed. | | Or maybe not. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/pacx28r Neal McLain
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:10:50 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: NCTA breaks from Comcast with support for 'examination of retransmission consent regime' Message-ID: <email@example.com> By Steve Donohue, FierceCable, December 13, 2013 | After years of remaining neutral in disputes between pay TV | distributors and broadcasters involving retransmission-consent | fees, the National Cable Television Association said Thursday | that it supports proposed legislation that could impact | Comcast, its largest member. | | Rep. Anna Eshoo (D.-Calif.) introduced a bill on Thursday that | she said would "put an end to broadcast television blackouts | and ensure consumers aren't held hostage by a dispute they | have no control over." Separately, Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.) | reintroduced a bill that calls for the repeal of several | regulations, including retransmission-consent and media | ownership rules. | | "The bills introduced today by Reps. Eshoo and Scalise are | very different, but each independently highlights what is | quickly becoming a growing consensus--namely, that laws | enacted over twenty years ago are out of sync with the | realities of today's video marketplace and in many cases serve | to inhibit innovation, thwart fair competition, and harm | consumers," NCTA CEO Michael Powell said in a prepared | statement. "In particular, we welcome an examination of a | retransmission consent regime that is increasingly fractured | and in need of some repair. We look forward to working with | these members, and all members of the committee, as Congress | considers responsible reforms," the former FCC chairman | added. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/l48enpl Neal McLain
Date: 15 Dec 2013 10:27:01 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Dorsey) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Garrett Wollman <email@example.com> wrote: >The stations that will lose the most will be the ones currently on UHF >who are forced to move to a VHF DTV channel, particularly if they end >up on low-band where the power limits are so low and QRM is so high >that they will be lucky to reach a small fraction of their >over-the-air audience (as the current low-V DTV stations have found). The problem is that the FCC has no long-term plans for spectrum management. They just do whatever congress is pushing them to do this week, and congress does whatever the lobbyists are pushing them to do this week. So a lot of stuff happens and then gets undone, or turns out not to have needed to have been done in the first place when the next thing happens. They're just thrashing their way from crisis to crisis rather than trying to travel in any particular direction. --scott -- "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 19:16:13 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Quoting Scott Dorsey: > The problem is that the FCC has no long-term plans for > spectrum management. They just do whatever congress is > pushing them to do this week, and congress does whatever > the lobbyists are pushing them to do this week. This is a problem that will only get worse in the future as the demand for wireless spectrum continues to rise exponentially. Addressing this problem clearly requires technical expertise as well as legal expertise. At least one FCC Commissioner -- Jessica Rosenworcel -- is making an effort to address this problem. At a recent speech at IEEE Globecom 2013 in Atlanta, she spoke of the need for additional wireless capacity. Although she didn't specifically mention television broadcast repacking, it's certainly an important part of the effort. Rosenworcel concluded with the following: | So here's an idea. Over the past several years, the FCC has | been able to recruit talented, young legal professionals | through an honors attorney program. In fact, one of the alumni | of this program is a young lawyer named David Goldman. He is | on my staff and here with me today. He is legal spectrum guru | of the first order and just the kind of professional we want | to recruit to public service. | | I think the program that brought David to the FCC needs an | engineering counterpart. So I think we should create an honors | program for young engineers. It would bring new vigor to the | ranks of our technical experts. By mixing young men -- and | women -- with experienced engineers already on staff, the FCC | could be better prepared to face the challenges of next | generation communications networks. Maybe there's hope for the FCC yet. A transcript of her speech is here: http://tinyurl.com/IEEE-Atlanta Her bio is here: http://www.fcc.gov/leadership/jessica-rosenworcel Neal McLain
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 13:38:30 -0500 From: T <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <MPG.email@example.com> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com says... > > Garrett Wollman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > >The stations that will lose the most will be the ones currently on UHF > >who are forced to move to a VHF DTV channel, particularly if they end > >up on low-band where the power limits are so low and QRM is so high > >that they will be lucky to reach a small fraction of their > >over-the-air audience (as the current low-V DTV stations have found). > > The problem is that the FCC has no long-term plans for spectrum management. > They just do whatever congress is pushing them to do this week, and congress > does whatever the lobbyists are pushing them to do this week. > > So a lot of stuff happens and then gets undone, or turns out not to have > needed to have been done in the first place when the next thing happens. > They're just thrashing their way from crisis to crisis rather than trying > to travel in any particular direction. > --scott Yeah, sort of like the snatch of the 2 or so MHz of 1.25m spectrum for UPS's little data netowrk, only for UPS to walk away from it for something better yet that spectrum hasn't been returned to amateur service.
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 21:47:18 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <20131216024718.GA3886@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Sun, Dec 15, 2013 at 01:38:30PM -0500, T wrote: > In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com says... >> The problem is that the FCC has no long-term plans for spectrum management. >> They just do whatever congress is pushing them to do this week, and congress >> does whatever the lobbyists are pushing them to do this week. >> >> So a lot of stuff happens and then gets undone, or turns out not to have >> needed to have been done in the first place when the next thing happens. >> They're just thrashing their way from crisis to crisis rather than trying >> to travel in any particular direction. > > Yeah, sort of like the snatch of the 2 or so MHz of 1.25m spectrum for > UPS's little data netowrk, only for UPS to walk away from it for > something better yet that spectrum hasn't been returned to amateur > service. First, the background: Ham Radio operators used to have an allocation from 220 to 225 MHz, which is in the space just above the old TV allocation for channel 13. The "1-point-two-five meter" band actually runs from 1.37 meters to 1.33 meters, but ham bands are commonly referred to by the wavelength of a single frequency, sometimes for historical reasons. Most Amateur radio operators refer to the band as "Two twenty". The 220 band never enjoyed the popularity of its neighbors at 2 meters (144 to 148 MHz), and 70 cm (420 to 450 MHz), because almost all the equipment used by early VHF enthusiasts had been converted to the ham bands from use in public safety, taxicab, commercial, and other uses, either in the "VHF High" band (152-172 MHz), or from the "UHF" bands (450-470 MHz). Since there was no commercial equipment for 220 MHz, hams had to do a lot of extra work to use it, and that meant that the band languished for years as a poor relative of the more popular bands on either side. It wasn't until the onset of cheap, programmable commercial tran- sceivers caused commercial users to run out of room that the land mobile service cast its eyes on 220: some hams started "Use it or lose it" campaigns, but their voices were drowned out by the squacking of packet stations and other "digital" modes on both 2 meters and 70 cm, as well as new "repeater" stations in the formerly morribund 6 and ten-meter bands, all of which diverted the attention of hams away from a band they weren't using anyway. When the cellular industry realized that it had a tiger by the tail, it quickly snapped up all available bandwidth, and when UPS realized that on-the-fly delivery tracking is an invaluable aid to managing a mobile workforce, the company lobbied for an assignment "anywhere else" but the cellular bands. The FCC gave UPS the first two megahertz of the 220 band, so that hams had a smaller allocation from 222 to 225, and were later awarded another megahertz, from 219 to 220. Paradoxically, many hams have recently been introduced to 220 by buying low-cost hand-held units that are twins of those made for other bands, but the decrease in amateur digital activity which followed the widespread introduction of high-speed Internet connections has caused 220 to (once again) fade from view. Ham radio is trying to redefine its role in the public mind, since Amateur Radio operators are no longer a major factor in emergency communications, and the ever-more-hungry mobile service providers are eyeing the ham bands as the next big thing. Stay tuned. Bill, W1AC -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my address to write to me directly) Gypsy Davey with a blowtorch he burns out their camps With his faithful slave Pedro behind him he tramps With a fantastic collection of stamps To win friends and influence his uncle - Bob Dylan
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 04:52:41 +0000 (UTC) From: John Levine <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Challenge-Response Now Available On CallCentric Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> >Reading that, I come away thinking they have the whitelist part, but not >the auto-add-to-whitelist or 3-strikes-and-you're-out. > >Having said that, they have me seriously considering porting my POTS >number to CallCentric and discontinuing my Verizon service altogether. I'm pretty happy with them. Remember that you need a broadband connection if you plan to use a VoIP device to make or receive calls. If you want that other stuff, get an old PC and run Asterisk on it. Callcentric is happy to deliver calls to it. R's, John -- Regards, John Levine, email@example.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies", Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 11:12:00 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Challenge-Response Now Available On CallCentric Message-ID: <20131215161200.GA10165@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Sun, Dec 15, 2013 at 04:52:41AM +0000, John Levine wrote: > If you want that other stuff, get an old PC and run Asterisk on it. Callcentric > is happy to deliver calls to it. Asterisk is, IMHO, a good example of the changes in both the telephone network and in average users' approach to it. I think we can all agree that the "central office" is in the process of becoming a network access point, and I'm suddenly not sure if we're considering all that's involved. Consider the premise that leads to a POTS user switching to something like Asterisk: on the one hand, Asterisk offers capabilities that many local phone companies do not - 1. Selective diversion of calls based on codes entered by the caller 2. Call screening based on origininating area code and/or exchange code 3. Digital voice recordings which can be transferred by email On the other, Asterisk requires end users to bear a lot of extra costs - 1. The time to learn the system and the software 2. Expenses for special-purpose phones and/or special-function computer interfaces 3. Support costs, such as for UPS protection and internal wiring, spare phones and interface cards, and software backups 4. Software mainenance, upgrades, and security The point is that I am more concerned about the benefits that home-based endpoints deliver relative to their costs than I was in years past. The chance to have a telemouseketier's automatic system be forced to guess what my automatic system will accept is just the next step in an arms race which we are entering into without any debate about whether it should be dealt with by other means, such as with legislation that puts meaningful teeth into the enforcement provisions of the laws that created the do-not-call list. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my address to write to me directly) So you think you can tell heaven from hell? Blue skies from pain? Green fields from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil? - Pink Floyd
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 12:06:47 -0500 From: Fred Goldstein <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Cable guys: Cord-cutters live in the Bermuda Triangle with Bigfoot and E.T. Message-ID: <52ADE1A7.email@example.com> > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > ISTM that the real question is "How many cable subscribers have > phone service through cable providers?", because IMHO that's a > better indicator of the cable operators' future. If those who "cut the > cord" on cable TV offerings are choosing VoIP phone service instead > of the cable operators' dial tone, or are retaining existing POTS dial > tone, then cable companies will have to look forward to a future where > all their money will come from 'ping and pipe' offerings. I've seen numbers that show cable taking 25-30% of the residential telephone business in their homes passed. In some markets it's more like 50%, and Cablevision may have more residential subs in Nassau County NY than Verizon, and Cox may outdo Verizon in Rhode Island. Or at least close. Of course the ILECs don't really want that business. They always whined about how they lost money on residential. And except for FiOS, Verizon has disinvested from it, deliberately leaving it to cable. Over-the-top VoIP tops out at something like 6% of lines, and is going nowhere fast. You can't get good reliable voice quality over the public Internet. Cable telephony is not Internet; it is on managed bandwidth. While there is an IP layer in the middle, it's not "over" an IP network, it "uses" IP internally. I prefer to refer to such applications as "VuIP", for Voice Using IP, rather than VoIP. The FCC conflates the two in its statistics which makes them much less useful. And they should not be treated the same for regulatory purposes, as one is just POTS, the other an Internet application interconnected to POTS somewhere.
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2013 13:50:31 -0500 From: Robert Weller <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <456274F9-A30E-4413-A8A3-CEADEFF5D81D@weller.org> ***** Moderator's Note ***** A. Please don't top-post. B. If you submit a post to the Telecom Digest via email, please send your submissions to "telecomdigestsubmissions at telecom-digest dot org", unless I've specifically asked you to use a different address. If you're unsure of what address to use, consult the F.A.Q.; sending to multiple addresses is counterproductive. (This doesn't affect you if you submit your posts via Usenet) C. Please add the " " or other appropriate tag to your subject line. See the F.A.Q. at http://telecom-digest.org/faq Bill Horne Moderator *************************** > On Thu, 12 Dec 2013 21:53:54 -0800 (PST), Neal McLain wrote: > > By Dru Sefton, Current.org, December 10, 2013 > ... > | > | At a meeting at CPB's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Harry > | Hawkes of Booz & Co.'s media and technology practice told > | board members that if the FCC goes ahead with plans to clear > | 120 MHz of spectrum for use by mobile devices, 110 to 130 > | pubcasting stations will need to shift due to repacking even > | if their operators don't participate in the auction. > | > | "That means that one-third of the system could have to change > | channels," noted Vincent Curren, CPB's c.o.o. "This will > | likely be more disruptive than the digital transition. This > | will be a major undertaking for our industry over the next > | several years." > > Continued: > http://tinyurl.com/ncqpkll > > > The FCC should have thought of this before the DTV conversion. Back > then, they could have designed the allocations table that consolidated > all stations in each city-of-license into half (or fewer) the number > of analog channels. > > Neal McLain > > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > The real question is "What does a new DTV transmitter cost?", because > the answer to that question will tell us how much the PBS stations > will push back, and thus how long it will be before the added > bandwidth is available to mobile users. > > Bill Horne > Moderator > > > ------------------------------ > > On Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:30:03 +0000 (UTC), firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett Wollman) wrote: > In article <email@example.com>, > Bill Horne wrote: > >> The real question is "What does a new DTV transmitter cost?", > > Lots. But most stations won't have to buy a new transmitter; they'll > just have to have their existing transmitter retuned. And for many > pubcasters, broadcast transmission is an afterthought, the price they > pay for getting mandatory cable and satellite distribution, so they > don't invest in their facilities any more than they have to. (Such is > certainly the case for WGBH/WGBX here in Boston.) A much bigger > expense is likely to be antenna system replacement: even for stations > that are currently using a wideband antenna, repacking will almost > certainly require changes in directional patterns, and requiring many > currently omnidirectional stations to switch to directional antennas > (which will lead to increased operational costs if two or more > stations that now combine into a single aperture must now rent > separate apertures on a tower). > > The stations that will lose the most will be the ones currently on UHF > who are forced to move to a VHF DTV channel, particularly if they end > up on low-band where the power limits are so low and QRM is so high > that they will be lucky to reach a small fraction of their > over-the-air audience (as the current low-V DTV stations have found). Disruptive to consumers, perhaps, but the cost of new transmitters and antennas, returning, etc. will be paid for by the auction itself. TV stations, including public non-commercial stations, will not have to bear the cost of changing channels. The only costs that are unlikely to be born by the auction proceeds are those associated with translators. So, an appropriate question is not "how much does a new DTV transmitter cost?" It may be, "how much does a new translator cost and who is going to pay for it?" More significantly, the reduction in spectrum available for television broadcast, including translators, is likely to reduce the number of channels available for TV translators. Because of that reduction, it seems likely that more translators will have to share programming streams, which is already a fairly common practice. Bob Weller
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