33 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2015 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.
The Telecom Digest for May 27, 2015
|"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."|
|Lyndon B. Johnson|
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|Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 18:40:19 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: The Government's Consumer Data Watchdog Message-ID: <0D261862-206F-46B9-BDD9-E9D260C71938@roscom.com> The Federal Trade Commission's chief technologist fights to ensure that companies keep consumers' information safe and private. When does the free flow of personal data benefit consumers, and when might it damage their pocketbooks? That question, at the heart of the debate over information economics and fairness, took center stage one day last month when Hal R. Varian, chief economist of Google, and Ashkan Soltani, chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission, participated in a conference on big data and privacy at the Temple University Fox School of Business in Philadelphia. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/technology/the-governments-consumer-data-watchdog.html -or- http://goo.gl/VemDPB|
|Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 14:47:08 -0700 (PDT) From: HAncock4 <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Does anyone remember the IMTS System? Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:43:36 PM UTC-4, Bill Horne wrote: > Here's a trip down memory lane: does anyone remember the IMTS > systems that preceded cellular? I find myself getting nostalgic > for the "good old days" of the mobile world, and I wonder if > any of that equipment has been converted to other uses. P.S. Some additional early cellular telphone history: In 1984, the Western Union Telegraph Company, along with its partners, operated cell phone service in Buffalo, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee as the non-wireline carrier. Construction was underway in Cleveland, Detroit, and Toledo. Telephone sets were manufactured by WU's subsidiary, E. F. Johnson. WU also operated, along with Goeken Communications, Airfone service, with phones in 15 widebody planes, and 100 expected by year end. They handled 150 calls per day. E. F. Johnson also manufactured the Airfone equipment. In addition, in 1984 WU offered long distance voice service. WU said a six minute daytime call from NYC to L.A. would cost $3.00 via AT&T, $2.83 via GTE, $2.67 via MCI, and $2.64 via WU. WU claimed its voice long distance rates were 25% cheaper than AT&T between points served by WU's microwave system, and 15% cheaper between other points. In those years, WU was Fighting very substantial rate increases from local telephone companies for local loop access lines to subscribers for data and teletypewriter services. Though WU had been migrating such traffic over to its own lines, a considerable part remained. For instance, after WU acquired AT&T's TWX system, WU had to move all the subscribers over its own lines and switching systems. --Western Union News, July 1984, August 1984, November 1984. ***** Moderator's Note ***** Western Union's move of TWX to "it's own lines and offices" took a great deal of time: I worked in the Boston-2 test center in the 80's, and we had a "WADS" office there, which was a #5 Crossbar switch that handled TWX. There were contracted TWX and Telex lines right up to the time when I was promoted into NYNEX IS in 1989. Bill Horne Moderator|
|Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 18:33:52 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Uber Closes In on Its Last Frontier: Airports Message-ID: <36EF8136-67CE-49FD-9CE9-FA90CF8C04B0@roscom.com> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/26/business/uber-closes-in-on-its-last-frontier-airports.html American airport officials know the ride-hailing phenomenon will not recede, and they are rewriting regulations to welcome all manner of cars.|
|Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 15:07:44 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Boston water main break disrupts telecommunication services for thousands throughout Massachusetts Message-ID: <CA5E46CD-461B-4263-9F1B-31A93FF7EDFF@roscom.com> Boston water main break disrupts telecommunication services for thousands throughout Massachusetts http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/05/boston_water_main_break_disrup.html -or- http://goo.gl/arHzIH|
|Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 07:06:17 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Verizon's 'Pick Your Own Cable TV Channels' Is Just Another Bait & Switch Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 6:47:58 PM UTC-5, Monty Solomon wrote: > Verizon's 'Pick Your Own Cable TV Channels' Is Just Another Bait & Switch -- Read the Fine Print > > Bruce Kushnick > 05/22/2015 When I first heard about Verizon's 'Pick Your Own Cable TV Channels' I was a bit startled. How could Verizon offer anything resembling a-la-carte? Isn't Verizon bound by the same wholesale costs for programming that cable TV faces? And isn't Verizon bound by the same government-mandated fees and taxes? Well, it appears that Verizon is indeed bound by the same costs, fees, and taxes that cable TV system face. But the author of this article apparently doesn't understand what the franchise fee covers. He writes: > Franchise Fee @ 5% -- applies to all of the parts of the > cable TV service, including the cable service itself, the set > top box, as well as related charges, such as the Broadcast > Fee and the Sports Fee. Yep. > But, if you have any movie channels, > DVRs, etc; these appear to also be charged as part of the > franchise fee. Yep. > And note that the franchise fee percentage can > vary in the cable franchise agreements, even by even > municipality, though 5% is relatively common. It can also > vary by what is and is not taxed. True. And even that list doesn't include everything that the franchise fee covers. Under federal law, the franchise fee applies to: (1) The charge for everything that's related to providing cable service to a specific customer: installation charges, monthly service charges, equipment charges (converter boxes, inside wiring, remotes), miscellaneous charges such as returned-check fees. (2) "Non-subscriber revenue" (revenue from locally-inserted advertising and from commissions received from home-shopping networks), allocated to each subscriber for each tier. Keep this in mind as you watch services like ESPN or CNN: the revenue that the cable company derives from locally-inserted advertising is subject to the same franchise fee. But the fee is passed through to subscribers, not to the advertisers. Local Franchising Authorities (LFAs), of course, object to this practice; however, the cable companies' rationale is straightforward: federal regulations allow them to pass all franchise fees through to subscribers, and if the LFAs insist on imposing franchise fees on non-subscriber revenue, then the cable companies are merely exercising their federal right to pass it along. The cable companies' right to do this has been upheld by the FCC and by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. [Texas Coalition of Cities, et al. v. FCC, 2003.] (3) The amount collected to pay the franchise fee. Take the total from (1) and (2) above, and add 5%. Then add 5% of that 5%. Then add 5% of that 5%. Then add ... etc. Or, as a close approximation, take the total of (1) and (2) and add 5.26%. This situation results from a complaint filed by two Texas cities (Dallas and Laredo) against cable operators who had been treating the franchise fee like a tax, adding only 5%. The FCC ruled in favor of the cable companies, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the cities' position, holding that Congress' use of the term "gross revenues" should include all revenues received by the cable operator, including revenue received to pay the franchise fee. [City of Dallas, Texas; City of Laredo, Texas v. FCC, 1997] I find it interesting to compare the two decisions handed down by the Fifth Circuit. One favors the cable industry and the other favors the LFAs, but both result in higher cable bills. Neal McLain|
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