32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for December 31, 2013
====== 32 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the
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Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 06:07:55 +0000 (UTC) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett Wollman) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to Sunsetting of Viewability Rule Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In article <email@example.com>, Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >I agree that "retrans consent has a very different legal footing" vis-a-vis >must-carry in the sense that each was created by a different section of the >1992 Cable Act. Both rights were created by that act; neither was created by >copyright law. How is cable retransmission not an exercise of the copyright owner's exclusive right of (digital) public performance? -GAWollman -- Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft email@example.com| repeated, than the story of a large research program Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 11:05:13 -0800 (PST) From: HAncock4 <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Target: Hack may have hit 40 million accounts Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Friday, December 20, 2013 11:46:32 AM UTC-5, John Levine wrote: > Not really. For one thing, most people use debit cards as swipe and > signature, just like credit cards. Banks prefer this because the fee > is higher than for PIN entry mode. Some prepaid cards don't even have > a PIN. True. But when the card is used as a PIN debit card, some merchants will give you cash back and no fee. That is, if your purchase is $75, you ask for $25 in cash back, and they'll charge your card $100 for the transaction, with the $25 listed as change. This is a nice convenience. > Some banks say they will waive some of your liability, but anyone > who believes what Bank of America says deserves what they (don't) > get. Sadly, very true. > Most important, with a credit card, the money for the charge you are > disputing is in YOUR account, while with a debit card it is in THEIR > account. You still get the best protection by using a no-fee credit > card and paying your balance in full every month (less, of course, > any disputed charges.) True. One way to protect yourself with debit cards is to limit the maximum usage amount to a fairly low value. This way, if the card is stolen the thief can't do too much damage. But I agree with the above, it's better to use a no-fee credit card for the reasons stated.
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2013 18:58:57 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Sports Blackout Rules on the Ropes? Message-ID: <email@example.com> By Dan Kirkpatrick, CommLawBlog, December 29, 2013 > FCC proposes to eliminate rules designed primarily to enforce > NFL blackout decisions. > > Looks like the clock is running out for the sports blackout > rules. > > In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) the FCC has proposed > their elimination, although the NFL, MLB, NAB and a number of > network TV affiliates appear poised to mount a late-game > defensive surge to try to save them. The outlook for the > rules, however, isn't brilliant. > > The sports blackout rules as they currently stand generally > prohibit certain multichannel video program distributors > (MVPDs - think cable systems, broadcast satellite services, > open video systems) from carrying, within a protected > geographical area, a live sporting event not available live on > a local over-the-air (OTA) TV station in that area. You can > find the rules themselves in Sections 76.111 (cable > operators), 76.127 (satellite providers), 76.128 (application > of sports blackout rules), 76.1506(m) (open video systems) of > the FCC's rules. > Importantly, the rules themselves are not the source of sports > blackouts; rather, the respective professional leagues > determine the availability of OTA game broadcasts. The FCC's > rules effectively impose league-initiated blackouts across the > various MVPD services. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/n7ccohl Neal McLain ***** Moderator's Note ***** It's fourth-and-long at the FCC, as key players push for end-of-year gains in PR and hype!! The starting team is on the bench as the second stringers throw out holiday gifts to the ever-more-hungry media, setting up a possible turnover that leaves the opposition wishing they had punted!!! Sigh. The rules won't change: they benefit the "powerhouse" TV stations in each market, whose managers are determined to maximize advertising revenues by eliminating cut-rate exurban competitors in nearby satellite (pun intended) cities. There isn't a politician in America who would dare to go up against the hometown anchor teams. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 15:31:03 -0500 From: Telecom Digest Moderator <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Happy New Year! Message-ID: <20131231203103.GA11746@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Thank you all for your support and help in 2013. I appreciate your suggestions and kind words more than I can say, and I'm going to use your advice to improve this publication as much as I can in 2014. Here are my resolutions for the new year: 1. I'm going to welcome more "opinion" posts about the telecom world: I think the Digest will benefit from hearing different viewpoints. 2. We'll have more information about the upcoming convergence of circuit-switched and VoIP-based telephone networks. 3. I'll add more to our archives about the networks, technologies, and management of both the Bell System and of other communications companies. Happy New Year! Bill -- Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 17:20:24 -0500 From: unknown <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Happy New Year! Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Telecom Digest Moderator wrote: > Thank you all for your support and help in 2013. I appreciate your > suggestions and kind words more than I can say, and I'm going to use > your advice to improve this publication as much as I can in 2014. > > Here are my resolutions for the new year: [Moderator snip] Hopefully you can change my ID from "anonymous" to my name :-) ***** Moderator's Note ***** Arnie, I kind of liked "Anonymous". It suited you somehow. ;-) For everyone: please don't use invalid domain names as part of message ID fields. Usenet doesn't like that. Anyone who wants their email address obfuscated, see the F.A.Q., which is at http://telecom.csail.mit.edu/faq . Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 16:56:43 -0500 From: Julian Thomas <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Happy New Year! Message-ID: <85ECD18C-5B03-435A-A62D-D325B9A6ECFA@jt-mj.net> On 31 Dec 2013, at 15:31, Telecom Digest Moderator <email@example.com> wrote: > Thank you all for your support and help in 2013. And thank YOU for the great job you have done and, on the basis of the resolutions, will continue to do for the members of the list! Happy New Year back at you! jt
Date: 31 Dec 2013 21:47:28 -0500 From: "Telecom Digest Moderator" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Telecom Digest F.A.Q. Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> This is the list of frequently-asked questions for The Telecom Digest, and it is sent to new subscribers automatically. It is also posted in the Digest whenever the contents change, and once per quarter even if the contents have not changed. Q. What is The Telecom Digest? A. The Telecom Digest is the oldest continuously published mailing list on the Internet. It was started before Usenet existed, but is now available via the Usenet group comp.dcom.telecom. Q. Who's in charge? A. The current Moderator is Bill Horne, and you may reach him by sending email to telecomdigestmoderator.atsign.telecom-digest.org. (The part that says ".atsign." will, of course, be replaced by the "@" symbol in all examples shown in this f.a.q.) Q. How do I subscribe? A. If you want to receive The Telecom Digest via email, send a "plain text" email message to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org, with the command "subscribe telecom" in the BODY of the message. (The subject line will be ignored.) You may choose to receive posts in a daily digest, with all the posts for the day included in a single email, or you may choose to have each post sent to your email address as soon as it is approved: digest mode is the default, but if you prefer individual email, use the command "subscribe-set telecom each" instead. If you want to subscribe an address OTHER THAN the one you are sending the subscription request from, then place the email address to be subscribed at the end of the command, e.g., "subscribe telecom president.atsign.whitehouse.gov" or "subscribe-set telecom each president-pro-tempore.atsign.senate.gov" You may also receive and post to The Telecom Digest via the Usenet group comp.dcom.telecom, either using NNTP or through portals such as Google or Yahoo. Q. What topics does The Telecom Digest cover? A. The Telecom Digest is primarily, but not exclusively, focused on the world's telephone systems, networks, and companies. Our readers talk about regulations, technical matters, rates, numbering plans, tariffs, the prices charged for various services, alternatives to the traditional telephone network (such as VoIP), and related issues. Q. What do I do if I want to talk about something else? A. The Internet is a big place: it's impossible to list all the telecommunications-related groups available on Google and Yahoo and Usenet in this FAQ. If you're looking for a place to talk about two-way radios or ship's blinker lights or surplus military gear, the best way to go about finding a mailing list, group, or website for your interest is to do a Google search for the specific equipment you're looking for, and backtrack from that to the places where others who are interested in it hang out. Q. How do I get something published in The Telecom Digest? A. There are three ways to contribute original posts or to reply to posts made by others. They are - 1. Send an email to telecomdigestsubmissions.atsign.telecom-digest.org. 2. Use an NNTP client, such as pine, or a combined email/nntp program, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, to send posts to the Telecom Digest via a Usenet server. If your ISP doesn't have a Usenet server, there are free ones available, such as the one at eternal-september.org. 3. Use a commercial portal, such as Google or Yahoo, to access the Usenet group comp.dcom.telecom. You will have to have an account with the portal's owner in order to do this, but they're usually issued without charge. No matter which way you send a message to The Telecom Digest, each message's "Subject" line must contain one of the following tags in order to be excepted from our spam-prevention process. There is no guarantee that a message without one of these tags will ever be read. The brackets around each tag must be included, but the quotes are not required. 1. " " if your post can be published verbatim. 2. "[nfp]" (Not For Publication) if your email is only for the Moderator's eyes. 3. "[obfuscate]" if you want the Moderator to modify your email address before publishing your post so that it cannot be used without being changed, i.e., so that it can't be copied by a spambot and used to send you spam. If you are a frequent Digest contributor, you may request that your email address be automatically obfuscated anytime you sent a post, so that you may send in contributions without the need for the "[obfuscate]" tag. 4. "[Anonymous]" if you want all traces of your identity removed from the post before it is published. (See rules about anonymous postings, shown below.) For example: Subject: Re: FCC refuses to take action on cramming [Anonymous] Subject: Eleven-digit phone numbers are coming Subject: Cell phone SMS spam is getting worse [Obfuscate] Subject: I haven't seen my post yet [nfp] Please note that the keywords in the tags are not case sensitive. Q. What are the Moderator's criteria for acceptable posts? A. In general, the Moderator approves posts which meet the guidelines shown here. The Moderator's decisions are binding, but readers are always welcome to argue their case for an exception or for special treatment: in other words, if a post is rejected, a contributor may ask the Moderator to reconsider. The Moderator, in turn, may ask that potential posts be modified so as to make them acceptable, or may refuse to reconsider a decision to reject. The Moderator's decision is not subject to appeal, and The Telecom Digest does not allow "Meta" discussions about moderation policies or decisions. Q. What are the rules about content? A. There are very few rules. The most important are listed here: 1. Netiquette is both encouraged and enforced. The Telecom Digest does not allow ad hominem attacks, unwarranted sarcasm, foul language, undocumented allegations of illegal or improper conduct, or other kinds of viciousness. The Moderator reserves the right to be completely arbitrary and capricious when making decisions about posts which, in the Moderator's sole and exclusive judgement, are inappropriate for publication. 2. Posts must concern telecommunications using the spoken word, i.e., they should be about the ways, instruments, equipment, inventions, costs, history, and regulations that bear on spoken conversations between human beings who are out of earshot of each other. 3. Posts which bear on non-voice aspects of the PSTN are allowed if they are germane to discussion about the worldwide telephone network in some other way: e.g., a post about "texting" while driving would be OK, and a post about the traffic loads caused by dial-up data users would also be appropriate. 4. The Moderator enjoys the privilege of modifying both spelling and grammar when, in the Moderator's judgement, a post is not clear enough to read without changes. Posts which require extensive rewriting are usually rejected and returned to their authors for rework, but in cases where the author cannot be contacted (e.g., when a poster does not use a valid email address), then the Moderator may choose to step in and modify a post rather than delete it. Q. What are the formatting and style rules? A. The Digest has both formatting rules and style guidelines. Here are the rules: 1. Your post must be written in English. Although it may contain words or phrases that are commonly used by non-English speaking peoples, such entries must be generally acceptable in the English-speaking online world. 2. Any post submitted with base64 or other encoding which isn't readable "as is" will be rejected. 3. No attachments of any sort are ever accepted. MIME emails are always converted to plain text before they are reviewed for publication, so HTML is always converted to plain text as well. MIME content such as V-Cards, and images such as corporate logos, are also removed. 4. You may include URLs in your posts so long as they contain a valid domain name and point to a server which is currently online and where the page is available for inspection prior to publication. IP addresses are never allowed in place of domain names, and the Moderator reserves the right to delete any URL that does not point to a well-known domain in a free country. 5. Since some readers use software which cannot automatically wrap long lines to fit the computer screen, please include a "hard" newline at the end of every line of your post. Posts that have "run-on" lines will be either rejected or reformatted, at the Moderator's option, to comply with this convention. 6. Please do not use "Quoted Printable" encoding. Some Usenet=20 clients cannot decode it, which leaves the readers who use them=20 with a jumble of strange characters that they must try to=20 interpret by sight. 7. The "Official" character set of The Telecom Digest is ISO-8859-1; US-ASCII is also acceptable. If you submit a post that uses another character set, such as UTF-8, it might be rejected. 8. You must clearly identify the source(s) of quoted material. 9. Any quotes which the Moderator deems to be excessively long are subject to trimming. 10. Advertisements, even those automatically added to posts by "free" email/Usenet servers without a poster's consent, are unacceptable and may be removed. 11. "Cartooney" legal statements which purport to limit the legal rights of someone who reads a post will always be deleted, or the post rejected. I don't care if your company email server adds them automatically: color them gone. Q. Are there any guidelines about the style of posts? A. Yes, and they are listed here. The Moderator reserves the right to modify non-compliant posts before publication if he chooses. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890 1. Please remember that The Telecom Digest has a worldwide audience, and that not all people use the email formatting customs which are common in the United States, and not all readers have access to high-definition computer screens that can show hundreds of characters per line, and not all readers have young eyes. The above ruler is a reminder to keep the lines of your posts within an seventy-column right margin, so as to allow room for quote marks in the left margin of followup posts. 2. Please don't include "ASCII art" in your posts, including signature lines: don't forget that these sorts of decoration depend on fixed-width fonts to be readable, and that each Digest reader gets to choose the font (s)he prefers. 3. Please do not use "leetspeak" or other childish misspellings. 4. Excessive capitalization or using inappropriate mixtures of upper and lower case is frowned upon. 5. Please limit the size of ".sig" files, and avoid pretentious quoting. Less IS more. Q. Does The Telecom Digest accept anonymous posts? A. Sometimes, but reluctantly. Posters who request anonymity must add the "[anonymous]" tag to the subject line of their posts, and the Moderator makes a judgement on a case-by-case basis. Posters who request anonymity will please provide a brief reason for the request in a clearly-separated section of the email, e.g., ****************************************************************** Please publish this anonymously. My country is arresting those who discuss this subject publicly. ****************************************************************** Keep in mind that, if your request for an anonymous post is accepted, ALL information which might point to your identity will be deleted from your post. The post will appear with a different message-id than the one it arrived with, and all headers will be stripped, so you must include anything you want published in the body of your post. Of course, if you request an anonymous post but you want to include a website address, a product name, or other items of commercial value, then the post will be evaluated with an eye toward that and will almost always be rejected. Given that anonymous posts usually deal with controversial subjects that may be objectionable to governments or corporations, posters who request anonymity may include a PGP signature in the BODY of their message, so as to lay claim to the persona the poster is using. The Moderator will decide, on a case-by-case basis, if the signature will be included in the post, but the Moderator will NOT be obligated to make any effort to verify the validity of the signature. Of course, having a digital key in your possession that proves you're the author of a controversial post might not be in your best interest, but that's for you to decide. Don't even think of asking the Moderator to serve as a postman for encrypted emails: if you want to have someone encrypt their emails to you, then you must use a publicly- reachable email address and request encrypted replies in your post. Of course, you'll have to have a PGP key available on a public key-server, such as pgp.mit.edu: the Telecom Digest does not publish PGP keys. Q. May I "spam-proof" my email address? A. Yes. It's OK to make your address "human readable", so that readers can send replies directly to you, but spam robots can't pick your address off our website and use it to spam you. However - If your email address is indecipherable, then your post will be reviewed more stringently than posts sent by those who are willing to receive direct emails. There is, of course, a grey area between having a "spam-proof" address and having an unusable one, and the Moderator makes decisions on a case-by-case basis as to whether posts with invalid email addresses are acceptable. Q. Where are the archives of old posts? A. Some are available on the Telecom Digest website, which is at http://www.telecom-digest.org/ , but editions of the Digest produced before 2007 might not be online in a format that you can search or obtain with a web browser. As time allows, the Moderator is finding ways to make them more easy to use, and I welcome help with this project. Q. Can we write about things that came before telephones? A. Posts about things like semaphore signalling, Morse Code, The Pony Express, and Carrier Pigeons are discouraged. Such subjects may, however, be mentioned by posters who choose to illustrate the history, technology, regulations, and social forces which formed the PSTN we use today, but posts may not focus exclusively on them. Q. Can I post a story about things which might come after telephones? A. Not unless you are speculating in a believable way about the future direction the PSTN will take. The Telecom Digest is not a venue for Science Fiction, so if you want to post about phones on other planets, or other ways of communication which haven't been discovered yet, then you'll need to find a more appropriate place for your work. Q. Since the line between "Data" and "Telephone" gets more blurry every day, how do you draw the line between VoIP services such as Vonage and Skype, and the more traditional telephone network? A. If it concerns people using electronic means to talk to each other, it's fair game, provided that the method(s) being used are capable of connecting to the PSTN or are provided by a recognized common carrier. When there is room for doubt, each post is judged on its own merits. Q. If I can sign up to receive each post separately, why is it called "The Telecom Digest"? A. The original Telecom Digest was a compilation of emails that were received by the Moderator each day. The Moderator assembled each day's digest by hand, and sent it out manually, so there was no other subscription option besides the "digest" version. When The Telecom Digest was made available to Usenet readers, that changed, but the original title of the publication remained, so it is still called "The Telecom Digest". Up until 2007, the email version of The Telecom Digest was still assembled by hand each day, and was thus available only in digest form, even though it was, by that time, sent out using an automated email robot located at John Levine's server in New York. The email robot in use is "Majordomo", which allows subscribers to choose either digest or individual emails, and since Usenet readers already enjoyed the option of seeing individual posts, Majordomo was reprogrammed to give email subscribers the same choice. Q. What are the options available to subscribers using the Majordomo robot? A. There are too many to list here: to get started on them, send a "plain text" email to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org with the word "help" in the BODY of the message (the subject line is ignored). Q. How do I unsubscribe? A. Send an email to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org, with the command "unsubscribe telecom" in the BODY of the message. If you no longer have access to the email account from which you subscribed, but still know the password for it, use the command "approve <password> unsubscribe telecom http://old.email.address ". (The subject line will be ignored.) If you don't have the password for an old account, and no longer have access to it to send emails to the Majordomo robot, then you may ask the Moderator to intercede and unsubscribe an old address on your behalf. Such requests are always verified. Please note: the Majordomo robot will AUTOMATICALLY unsubscribe any email address that is "bouncing" emails FOR ANY REASON. If your mailbox is full, you might lose your subscription, so PLEASE turn off delivery of the Digest when you go on vacation! Q. How do I turn off delivery of the Telecom Digest while I'm on vacation? A. You need only send a "set" command to the Majordomo robot, with the "nomail" flag, in the BODY of an email message. (The subject line is - wait for it - ignored). Example: if you send an email to majordomo.atsign.telecom-digest.org, and put set ALL nomail-14d ... in the message body, Majordomo will postpone mail for all of your subscriptions while you are traveling, for the next 14 days. N.B.: there is no space between the "nomail" flag and the minus sign that is in front of the interval. Please note that all Majordomo commands need to be confirmed, so you'll get a "challenge" email from the Majordomo robot, containing instructions on how to confirm the command. If you prefer, you may send commands that are validated with your Majordomo password, and they will be executed without need for confirmation: see the Majordomo help files for info. (END)
Date: 31 Dec 2013 21:48:24 -0500 From: Moderator <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Telecom Digest Info file Message-ID: <email@example.com> This is the "Info" document for The Telecom Digest. It is sent automatically to new subscribers, and posted occasionally in the Digest. The Telecom Digest is an electronic magazine, or e-zine, devoted mostly to telecommunications, and mostly to the Companies, technology, regulations, politics, and people that affect, create, maintain, and govern the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) of the world. This is, as the above paragraph no doubt implies, much easier to do than to explain. We cover any subject that's related to the telephone network, including Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP), Cellular telephones, Air-to-ground telephone service, ship-to-shore telephone connections, and even an occasional story about the old manual world or the earlier generations of electro-mechanical Central Office telephone switches. The Telecom Digest isn't just about technology: it's about the way that telephones shape our lives, and the ways that governments and corporations and individuals shape the telephones and the networks that make them work. No matter what area of telecommunications you are interested in, the odds are that you can contribute knowledge and opinions about the PSTN to The Telecom Digest. There are very few areas of life that aren't affected by phones, and we welcome everyone who is willing to help and to abide by the rules. The Telecom Digest moderator is Bill Horne, and he lives in the United States. You may reach him privately by sending email to bill.atsign.horne.net. (END)
TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly to telecom- munications topics. It is circulated anywhere there is email, in addition to Usenet, where it appears as the moderated newsgroup 'comp.dcom.telecom'. TELECOM Digest is a not-for-profit, mostly non-commercial educational service offered to the Internet by Bill Horne. All the contents of the Digest are compilation-copyrighted. You may reprint articles in some other media on an occasional basis, but please attribute my work and that of the original author. The Telecom Digest is moderated by Bill Horne.
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bill at horne dot net
This Digest is the oldest continuing e-journal about telecomm- unications on the Internet, having been founded in August, 1981 and published continuously since then. Our archives are available for your review/research. We believe we are the oldest e-zine/mailing list on the internet in any category! URL information: http://telecom-digest.org Copyright (C) 2013 TELECOM Digest. All rights reserved. Our attorney is Bill Levant, of Blue Bell, PA.
Finally, the Digest is funded by gifts from generous readers such as yourself who provide funding in amounts deemed appropriate. Your help is important and appreciated. A suggested donation of fifty dollars per year per reader is considered appropriate. See our address above. Please make at least a single donation to cover the cost of processing your name to the mailing list. All opinions expressed herein are deemed to be those of the author. Any organizations listed are for identification purposes only and messages should not be considered any official expression by the organization.