AT&T is Not Invincible
The ill-considered bill in Georgia that would have prevented local communities from investing in their own broadband networks was defeated last night, and this is great news.Read More
Lessons from the Derecho: When Industry Self-Regulation Is Not Enough
The FCC released a fairly thorough report on the widespread 9-1-1 failure that followed the June 2012 “derecho” windstorm. For those who don’t remember, the derecho differs from most weather events by coming up almost without warning. According to the report, carriers had approximately two hours of warning from the time the derecho started in the Ohio Valley to when it hit the D.C. Metro region.
As a consequence of the damage done by the derecho, Northern Virginia experienced a massive failure of its 9-1-1 network, leaving over 1 million people with working phones (at least in some places) but no access to 9-1-1. West Virginia experienced systemic problems as well, as a did a scattering of locations in other states impacted by the derecho. Verizon maintains the network in Northern Virginia, while West Virginia is managed by Frontier.Read More
The FCC Jump Starts Special Access (Again) and AT&T’s Disingenuous Response.
Good news, the FCC has decides to one again reboot its seven year old proceeding on “special access.” Given that I have been flogging the FCC since 2006 to do something about this, with occasional reminders since then, I am obviously pleased. For those new to this, “special access” is the rate businesses and competitors to telcos pay to telcos for wholesale access to their telecommunications capacity. When you place a call over your Sprint or Cricket cell phone, the call goes to the tower.Read More
What Do You Mean The “End of the Phone System?” I Gotta Call Home for Father’s Day!
A few weeks ago I went to a fascinating gathering of a few dozen academics, policy wonks, and others from the U.S. and elsewhere to talk about the end of the phone system. While by no means a unanimous consensus, a very solid majority considered the phone system obsolete and ready for the scrap heap. This will come as a surprise to those of you who called home on Mother’s Day or who thanked God for a call center number when your broadband connection went down. But in fact, most of you are probably not using a phone service but a “phone service,” so we are half-way to shutting down the actual phone system anyway.
What is the PSTN and Why Should Anyone Care if We End It?Read More
CWA Fights A Valiant Battle, But…
There are two ways to look at the Communications Workers of America (CWA) strike against Verizon, mirror images of each other. (The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers also is striking, but CWA is the main labor voice.)
First: Why should the striking workers have it better than everyone else? Why should they get away with having paid-for health care and time off and all the other things that the company now wants to take away?
Second: Why don’t other workers have it as good as the striking workers? Why don’t other people have paid-for health care and time off and all the other things that Verizon now wants to take away?