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TELECOM Digest     Tue, 29 Mar 2005 16:30:00 EST    Volume 24 : Issue 135

Inside This Issue:                             Editor: Patrick A. Townson

    Plan to Merge MCI, Qwest Has A Sour Ring (Marcus Didius Falco)
    Anatomy of a Techno-Myth -- (Marcus Didius Falco)
    Divide Grows on Treatment of Students in Online Breach (Monty Solomon)
    As Verizon Hikes 411 Cost, Rival Offers a Free Tryout (Monty Solomon)
    Sony in Dispute Over Digital Projectors (Monty Solomon)
    Vonage Move a Jobs Bonanza (Ankur Shah)
    Horrible Voice Quality on Skypeout (John Levine)
    MCI Takes Revised Verizon Offer (Telecom dailyLead from USTA)
    SecuPress; a Good Source of Security News (Sandra)
    Internet Telephony - Please Help My Dissertation (

Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the
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and the name of our lawyer; other stuff of interest.  


Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 01:06:02 -0500
From: Marcus Didius Falco <>
Subject: Plan to Merge MCI, Qwest Has A Sour Ring

By Jerry Knight

Monday, March 28, 2005; Page E01

As a long-time advocate for investors, it pains me to say it, but
MCI Inc.'s board of directors ought to tell shareholders who oppose
merging with Verizon Communications Inc. to take a hike.

It's true that Qwest Communications International Inc. is offering
stockholders more money for MCI than Verizon -- $8.45 billion
vs. $6.75 billion -- but merging with Qwest would be one of the
dumbest deals in the history of Washington investing.

MCI already is co-champion in the D.C.'s Dumbest Deals competition.

Merging with Qwest could turn out to be an even bigger mistake than
MCI's decision to sell out to WorldCom Inc., a blunder matched only by
Time Warner Inc. selling itself to Dulles-based America Online Inc.

The same "take the money" mentality that produced those two disastrous
mega-mergers is behind the support by many of MCI's biggest
stockholders for combining with Qwest.

Unless the bids are raised -- and they may well be -- investors would
get stock and cash worth $26 a share if MCI hooks up with Qwest and
$20.75 if MCI goes with Verizon.

While the higher price might arguably be in the best interest of
shareholders, this is one of the rare instances when the interest of
the shareholders and the interest of the company are not the
same. It's doubtful that a merger with Qwest would be in the best
interest of MCI, its customers, its employees or the Washington region
 -- even if it is good for the shareholders.

There are shareholders and then there are shareholders.

The vast majority of the investors who own MCI stock are not
individual investors. Nor are they the mutual funds, insurance
companies or pension funds that make investments on behalf of ordinary

Most of those folks were wiped out by the bankruptcy reorganization
that was necessary when the WorldCom/MCI merger was turned into a
train wreck by accounting fraud, flawed business strategies and
incompetent management.  Those former shareholders are going to get a
small part of their money back, thanks to a series of lawsuits (more
about that later.)

Today's MCI stockholders are mostly hedge funds -- private pools of
money, managed for the ultrawealthy by the ultrawealthy with the goal
of making as much money as possible as fast as possible, damn the risk
or the consequences.

"By our estimation, hedge funds make up two-thirds to 70 percent of
the ownership of MCI," Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc., the
Arlington investment firm, said in a recent report on the MCI
maneuvering. "It is quite reasonable," the FBR report noted, "that the
majority of hedge-fund investors would prefer to cash out quickly in a
Qwest-MCI deal rather than wait for potential upside from a
Verizon-MCI combination."

Reasonable for hedge funds, perhaps, but not for anyone else with a stake
in MCI.

Most independent evaluations of the competing offers agree with the
implicit premise of the FBR report: There is more long-term potential
for the company that would be created by merging MCI and Verizon than
for the one that would be produced by combining MCI and Qwest.

Verizon is the biggest and strongest of the regional Bell companies, Qwest
the smallest and weakest -- burdened by $16.7 billion in long-term debt and
so fragile that it may not be able to survive unless it finds a partner.

Qwest is willing to pay more than Verizon for MCI because it needs MCI

Qwest, of course, doesn't put it that way. Its executives argue that
they can pay more because Qwest makes a better partner for MCI than
Verizon, because they can fire more MCI employees than Verizon and
because their deal is more likely to be approved by government
regulators and approved quickly.

That last claim is challenged by Blair Levin, a Washington-watcher for
Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., the Baltimore investment company. Levin,
a former chief of staff of the Federal Communications Commission, says
either transaction could win regulatory approval. As for the timing,
neither is likely to be cleared until after regulators make a decision
on AT&T Corp.'s plan to merge with SBC Communications Inc., a bigger
and more precedent-laden merger.

"It's probably going to be true that they are going to look at both
deals together and when one [decision] comes out, the other will come
out at the same time or shortly after," he said. Neither Verizon nor
Qwest has gained much traction arguing that its offer is better from a
regulatory standpoint, he added. "I don't think policy is going to tip
the MCI decision one way or the other."

Levin approaches the merger from a regulatory and policy point of
view, but analysis based on business fundamentals generally comes down
on the side of Verizon. It is a financially stronger company with a
stock market value of $96.28 billion compared with Qwest's market
capitalization of $6.87 billion.

A $96 billion business that makes a $6.75 billion acquisition is making a
modest investment. A $7 billion company that makes an $8.45 billion deal is
betting the ranch.

To make that bet pay off, Qwest plans to slash expenses at MCI. Many
telecom analysts are skeptical of Qwest's claim that it can cut as
many as 16,000 jobs -- and do so without hurting the quality of
service to customers. That "promise" alone argues that the interests
of the employees and the public would better be served by a merger
with Verizon, which claims fewer than half as many job cuts will be

Absolutists on the issue of shareholder rights argue that neither the
employees nor the customers matter. Nor does the risk that the
combined company will founder down the road. If one offer gives
stockholders more money today, then it should be accepted, they argue
in support of Qwest (and in support of the hedge funds that are
pressing MCI to take the money.)

MCI board members so far have taken a broader view of the
choice. After all, they got their jobs because their predecessors were
ousted during the bankruptcy and ultimately forced to pay millions in
damages out of their own pockets for not stopping the accounting

But a merger decision must be ratified by stockholders, and with
two-thirds of MCI's stock in the hands of quick-buck artists, that
could be difficult.  The worst thing that could happen -- and it's a
real possibility -- is that the hedge fund stockholders hook up with
Qwest and a stage a hostile takeover by voting out MCI's management.

While the future of MCI hangs in the balance, the final act of its
tragic marriage to WorldCom is playing out.

Today, court proceedings are scheduled to begin in lawsuits filed on
behalf of stock and bond holders against the accounting firm of Arthur
Andersen LLP, which signed off on the fraudulent bookkeeping that
ultimately destroyed WorldCom.

All the other defendants in the cases have settled, including the
investment banks that sold WorldCom stocks and bonds based on phony
financial records and the former WorldCom board members who allowed
the fraud to occur. Together, they have agreed to pay $6 billion in
damages, $4.8 billion to bondholders and $1.2 billion to shareholders.

Add the $433 million in restitution wrung out of Wall Street by the
Securities and Exchange Commission in another case, part of which goes
to WorldCom investors, and shareholders stand to get back more money
than the victims of any other corporate fraud ever.

The deadline for claiming a piece of the settlement was March 4, but
the courts have the authority to sweep in investors who file belated
claims, said a spokesman for New York State Comptroller Alan
G. Hevesi, who is supervising the cases because the state's employee
pension fund was the biggest loser in the debacle. Anyone who bought
WorldCom stock or bonds between April 29, 1999, and June 25, 2002 is
potentially eligible to get some money back. Details on eligibility
and how to file a claim can by found at

Copyright 2005 The Washington Post Company

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily
media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new articles daily.

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Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 01:06:27 -0500
From: Marcus Didius Falco <>
Subject: Science and Society: Anatomy of a Techno-Myth --

The debate over the safety of mobile phones has little to do with

DO MOBILE phones cause explosions at petrol stations? That question
has just been exhaustively answered by Adam Burgess, a researcher at
the University of Kent, in England. Oddly, however, Dr Burgess is not
a physicist, but a sociologist. For the concern rests not on
scientific evidence of any danger, but is instead the result of
sociological factors: it is an urban myth, supported and propagated by
official sources, but no less a myth for that. Dr Burgess presented
his findings this week at the annual conference of the British
Sociological Association.

Mobile phones started to become widespread in the late 1980s, when the
oil industry was in the middle of a concerted safety drive, Dr Burgess
notes.  This was, in large part, a response to the Piper Alpha
disaster in 1988, when 167 people died in an explosion on an oil
platform off the Scottish coast. The safety drive did not apply merely
to offshore operations: employees at some British oil-company offices
are now required to use handrails while walking up and down stairs,
for example. So nobody questioned the precautionary ban on the use of
mobile phones at petrol stations. The worry was that an electrical
spark might ignite explosive fumes.

By the late 1990s, however, phonemakers having conducted their own
research realised that there was no danger of phones causing
explosions since they could not generate the required sparks. But it
was too late. The myth had taken hold.

One problem, says Dr Burgess, is that the number of petrol-station
fires increased in the late 1990s, just as mobile phones were
proliferating.  Richard Coates, BP's fire-safety adviser, investigated
many of the 243 such fires that occurred around the world between 1993
and 2004. He concluded that most were indeed caused by sparks igniting
petrol vapour, but the sparks themselves were the result of static
electricity, not electrical equipment. Most drivers will have
experienced a mild electric shock when climbing out of their
vehicles. It is caused by friction between driver and seat, with the
result that both end up electrically charged. When the driver touches
the metal frame of the vehicle, the result is sometimes a spark. This
seems to have become more common as plastic car interiors, synthetic
garments and rubber-soled shoes have proliferated.

A further complication was the rise of the internet, where hoax memos,
many claiming to originate from oil companies, warned of the danger of
using mobile phones in petrol stations. One e-mail contained
fictitious examples of such explosions said to have happened in
Indonesia and Australia.  Another, supposedly sent out by Shell, found
its way on to an internal website at Exxon, says Dr. Burgess, where it
was treated as authoritative by employees. Such memos generally
explain static fires quite accurately, but mistakenly attribute them
to mobile phones. Official denials, says Dr Burgess, simply inflame
the suspicions of conspiracy theorists.

Despite the lack of evidence that mobile phones can cause explosions,
bans remain in place around the world, though the rules vary
widely. Warning signs abound in Britain, America, Canada and
Australia. The city of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, introduced a ban last
year. And, earlier this month, a member of Connecticut's senate
proposed making the use of mobile phones in petrol stations in that
state punishable by a $250 fine.

For Dr Burgess, such concerns are part of a broader pattern of unease
about mobile phones. There is a curious discrepancy, he notes, between
the way that such phones have become indispensable, and the fact that
they are also vaguely considered to be dangerous. This is particularly
noticeable in Britain. The country that led the way in banning mobile
phones at petrol stations is also the country that has taken the
strongest line on the safety of mobile-phone use by children. In
January, Sir William Stewart, the government's expert on the subject,
warned that while there is no evidence that mobile phones are unsafe,
as a precautionary measure children should use them only when
absolutely necessary. The safety of mobile phones would appear to be
not so much the province of the hard science of physics, as of the
soft science of sociology.

Copyright 2005 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily
media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new articles daily.

*** FAIR USE NOTICE. This message contains copyrighted material the
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understanding of literary, educational, political, and economic
issues, for non-profit research and educational purposes only. I
believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material
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beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright
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For more information go to:


Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 20:27:21 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Divide Grows on Treatment of Students in Online Breach

By Robert Weisman, Globe Staff

A small backlash has formed against the business schools of Harvard
and some of the nation's other most prestigious universities for
denying admission to more than 200 applicants who used a loophole
devised by a computer hacker to peek at their admission files.

Last week, Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, dissenting from
Harvard's stern reaction to the digital trespassing, said it had
accepted at least a few of the electronic intruders.

For administrators at Harvard, MIT, Duke, and Carnegie Mellon, the
attempts to view confidential data this month were the electronic
equivalent of breaking and entering, wholly unworthy of the future
captains of American commerce. But others see the online breaches as a
victimless crime by overeager young people accustomed to copying and
pasting links onto websites. The contrasting reactions may expose not
only a generational divide in Internet etiquette but also increasingly
divergent mores in the physical and virtual worlds at a time when free
downloading of music and open-source software is commonplace.


Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 20:29:24 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: As Verizon Hikes 411 Cost, Rival Offers a Free Tryout

By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff  |  March 28, 2005

As Verizon prepares to nearly quadruple the price for calling 411
Friday, to $1.25, a North Carolina company that sells a discount
directory-assistance alternative plans a big promotion: free calls for
everyone in Massachusetts for the day.

Starting Friday, barring a highly unlikely last-minute intervention by
state regulators, Verizon is raising the price for calling 411 to
$1.25 from 34 cents. Customers will, however, continue to get 10 free
calls a month before they start paying the fee.

In response, 411Saver,  a company based in Maggie  Valley, N.C., plans
to  offer  unlimited free  directory  assistance  calls  to Bay  State
residents between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. It is setting up a special
number for the day: 1-866-MASS-411 (1-866-627-7411).

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Here at the Digest, we offer a
directory assistance alternative which is quite affordable and easy
to use. Plus which, the Digest benefits from your use of the service.


Just as an example of how it works, at the above link, you register
the telephone number or numbers you normally call from. Then ANI is
used to capture that number each time you use the toll free number.
It is a real, live, up to date service bureau, meaning changes and new
additions are updated at least once per day. To hear a sample
directory assistance call, listen to You just dial the 800 number
(maybe assign it to a speed dial position) then give your one or two
requests. Your credit card (based on the information you give them
when you register for the service) gets billed 65 cents each time
around, in reasonable billing increments with no minimum charges of
any kind. Instead of dialing '411' for directory, you use our 800
number.  And, the Digest gets a few cents 'commission' on each call
you make. No equipment or any changes needed to your phone system,
except you may with to put it on a speed dial entry. Let me know how
it works for you if you choose to use it.  PAT]


Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 09:19:15 -0500
From: Monty Solomon <>
Subject: Sony in Dispute Over Digital Projectors

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- There's a showdown brewing at the local 
movie theater, but it's not playing on the screen. It's in the 
projection booth.

Sony Electronics Inc., a unit of Sony Corp., last week demonstrated a 
projection technology for digital cinema that displays images at 
twice the resolution of existing digital projectors.

Sony plans to begin shipping the system in July, setting up a race 
with Texas Instruments Inc., whose technology is at the heart of 
digital projectors already on the market.

The competition is emerging at the same time Hollywood is looking to 
work out a fair way to roll out digital cinema nationwide to replace 
the ubiquitous 35mm film projectors.

Critics question how well the eye can distinguish between the 2,000
lines of resolution that current digital projectors have and the 4,000
lines Sony's new projector promises (by comparison, high-definition TV
sets show up to 1,080 lines). They also question whether color
separation and contrast are any better with a higher line count.

Regardless, Landmark Theaters, owned by entrepreneur Mark Cuban,
announced it would be the first to use the projectors, giving Sony a
high-profile partner in the quality debate.



Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 17:20:46 -0500
From: Ankur Shah <voipuser@withheld on request>
Subject: Vonage Move a Jobs Bonanza

[Pat, please remove my email address from all postings]

Published in the Asbury Park Press 03/25/05 By DAVID P. WILLIS

Vonage Holdings Corp., the nation's largest Internet telephone
company, expects to move its offices to Holmdel, where it hopes to
employ about 2,000 workers by the end of the year, a company spokesman

The move would make Vonage one of the Shore's largest employers.

The company, which now has 1,000 employees, has outgrown its offices on 
Route 27 in Edison, Vonage spokesman Jamie Serino said. "We are working 
right on top of each other," he said.

The company is "close" to signing a lease for an office building in
Holmdel, Serino said. He would not identify the location, but he said
it would have space for another 1,000 employees the company expects to
hire this year.

Joseph Sarno, senior director at Cushman & Wakefield of New Jersey,
believes Vonage will move into the former Prudential Property &
Casualty Insurance Co. building, a two-story 358,932-square-foot
office building on 88 acres on Route 520.

"This is a big shot in the arm for the Monmouth County office market
and also for the businesses and community of Holmdel to say the
least," said Sarno, a Holmdel resident. "That building was looming as
another big empty building in the Monmouth County market."

Charlie Morrison, a Holmdel resident who worked for Bell Laboratories
for more than 40 years, agreed.

"Well, I'm sure that some of the people that are unemployed these days
would be happy to hear" about the move, said Morrison, 83.

*550,000 customers*

Formed in January 2001, Vonage jump-started a hot new market that,
while still small, is providing an alternative to traditional
telephone service.

Co-founded by Brielle resident Jeffrey Citron, the company offers
local and long-distance telephone service over the Internet using a
new technology called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for
short. The technology gives customers who have a high-speed Internet
connection a less expensive way to make telephone calls.

Now telecommunications giants, such as AT&T Corp., Verizon
Communications and Cablevision Systems, are offering their own

Vonage, which has run ads on television and the Internet, has grown to
more than 550,000 lines in the United States, Canada and the United
Kingdom, up from about 130,000 as of March 31, 2004. "The company is
growing very, very quickly. We are signing up over 15,000 customers a
week," Serino said. The company estimates it will have 1 million
customers by the end of the year.

"As that number grows, we are going to have to have more people to
serve that customer base," he said. "Every single week, we are
bringing more and more people on. We are looking forward to recruiting
in the area."

The jobs will include customer care, technical support, and software
development positions, Serino said.

The new location in Holmdel will encompass the company's corporate
offices, call center, network operations, research and operations and
other functions, Serino said. "By the end of the summer, the majority
of the company, if not the whole company, will move over," he said.

Holmdel Mayor Larry Fink said it is good to see vacant office space

"It should be especially exciting for residents of Holmdel and
Monmouth County municipalities who formerly worked for AT&T, Lucent,
Agere and Avaya, many of who are still looking for employment in the
telecom industry," Fink said. "That might bode well for them."

*Prospective employee*

Mark P. Horvath, an electrical engineer who lives in Holmdel, said he
was thrilled by news of the Vonage relocation.

He's been looking for work since his former employer, Lucent spin-off
Agere Systems, closed its area offices last year. He hopes maybe he'll
be one of the local people the company hires when it moves here.

"I'm glad to have them as a neighbor," said Horvath, 49. "It's nice
when a company moves in; something sizable with a new direction like
Vonage.  It makes it a very impressive draw for other companies, as

Sam Shramko, who moved to Holmdel in the early 1960s when his
employer, Bell Laboratories, opened offices there, said the move would
be a win-win situation for employers and employees alike.

"I think (Holmdel) is the ideal place for a company, a technical
company, because of the past communications and facilities that are
around here," Shramko, 70, said. "They'd have a good labor force."


Date: 29 Mar 2005 15:19:30 -0000
From: John Levine <>
Subject: Horrible voice quality on skypeout
Organization: I.E.C.C., Trumansburg NY USA

My new USB handset showed up so I tried a couple of Skypeout calls to
regular phone numbers.  Ewww.  It sounded really awful.

Is this the USB handset, Skypeout, or am I just unlucky?




Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 12:49:30 EST
From: Telecom dailyLead from USTA <>
Subject: MCI Takes Revised Verizon Offer

Telecom dailyLead from USTA
March 29, 2005


* MCI takes revised Verizon offer
* Cablevision may join investment firms in bid for Adelphia
* Kuwaiti telco enters fast-growing African market with buy
* Alltel launches EV-DO in three new markets
* Comcast looks to telephony, VOD to power growth
* VeriSign likely to maintain .net domain control
* VoIP 101: How to Rapidly Roll Out VoIP, March 31, 1:00 p.m. EST
* New chip merges electronics, fiber optics
* Public comments as regulators consider lifting cell phone ban

Follow the link below to read quick summaries of these stories and others.


From: Sandra <>
Subject: SecuPress: A Good Daily Source of Security News
Date: 29 Mar 2005 04:39:07 -0800

SecuPress is a daily updated hacking and security relatedwebsite.  We
provide news and headlines from thousands of news sources worldwide.

Visit us : - Hacking & Security News


Subject: Internet Telephony - My Dissertation
Date: 29 Mar 2005 08:36:09 -0800


I am in the final year of my MSc Computer Science at APU in Cambridge.
I have designed an online questionnaire which examines the call habits
of those that use software phones:

Please complete the questionnaire it only takes 5 mins and will really
help my dissertation.

Matt Barlow


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