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TELECOM Digest     Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:04:00 EDT    Volume 24 : Issue 273

Inside This Issue:                             Editor: Patrick A. Townson

    Your ISP as Net Watchdog (Lisa Minter)
    Cellphone Tax (Lisa Minter)
    Converting 4-Wire Autovon Phone to 2-Wire (Scott Norwood)
    Intel Develops All-in-One Wi-Fi Chip (Telecom dailyLead from USTA)
    Monitor/Recorder for Residential Power Line Outages? (AES)
    Re: Email to Former AT&T Phones Now Cingular (Joseph)
    Need Help on Wireless (PatETC)
    Re: Bell Divestiture (Lisa Hancock)
    Re: Bell Divestiture (Robert Bonomi)

Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the
Internet.  All contents here are copyrighted by Patrick Townson and
the individual writers/correspondents. Articles may be used in other
journals or newsgroups, provided the writer's name and the Digest are
included in the fair use quote.  By using -any name or email address-
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Addresses herein are not to be added to any mailing list, nor to be
sold or given away without explicit written consent.  Chain letters,
viruses, porn, spam, and miscellaneous junk are definitely unwelcome.

We must fight spam for the same reason we fight crime: not because we
are naive enough to believe that we will ever stamp it out, but because
we do not want the kind of world that results when no one stands
against crime.   Geoffrey Welsh


See the bottom of this issue for subscription and archive details
and the name of our lawyer; other stuff of interest.  


From: Lisa Minter <>
Subject: Your ISP as Net Watchdog 
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 23:16:24 -0500

By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET

The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the
explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain
records of their customers' online activities.

Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail
chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet
providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs -- that is, if logs
were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that
such logs be kept.

In theory, at least, data retention could permit successful criminal
and terrorism prosecutions that otherwise would have failed because of
insufficient evidence. But privacy worries and questions about the
practicality of assembling massive databases of customer behavior have
caused a similar proposal to stall in Europe and could engender stiff
opposition domestically.

The U.S. Department of Justice is mulling data retention rules that
could permit police to obtain records of e-mail, browsing or chat-room
activity months after ISPs ordinarily would have deleted the logs --
if they were ever kept in the first place.  Bottom line: Data
retention could aid criminal and terrorism prosecutions, but privacy
worries and questions about the practicality of assembling massive
databases of customer behavior could engender stiff opposition to the

In Europe, the Council of Justice and Home Affairs ministers say logs
must be kept for between one and three years. One U.S. industry
representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Justice
Department is interested in at least a two-month requirement.

Justice Department officials endorsed the concept at a private meeting
with Internet service providers and the National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children, according to interviews with multiple people
who were present. The meeting took place on April 27 at the Holiday
Inn Select in Alexandria, Va.

"It was raised not once but several times in the meeting, very
emphatically," said Dave McClure, president of the U.S. Internet
Industry Association, which represents small to midsize companies. "We
were told, 'You're going to have to start thinking about data
retention if you don't want people to think you're soft on child

McClure said that while the Justice Department representatives argued
that Internet service providers should cooperate voluntarily, they
also raised the "possibility that we should create by law a standard
period of data retention." McClure added that "my sense was that this
is something that they've been working on for a long time."

This represents an abrupt shift in the Justice Department's long-held
position that data retention is unnecessary and imposes an
unacceptable burden on Internet providers. In 2001, the Bush
administration expressed "serious reservations about broad mandatory
data retention regimes."

The current proposal appears to originate with the Justice
Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, which enforces
federal child pornography laws. But once mandated by law, the logs
likely would be mined during terrorism, copyright infringement and
even routine criminal investigations. (The Justice Department did not
respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.)

"Preservation" vs. "Retention"

At the moment, Internet service providers typically discard any log
file that's no longer required for business reasons such as network
monitoring, fraud prevention or billing disputes. Companies do,
however, alter that general rule when contacted by police performing
an investigation -- a practice called data preservation.

A 1996 federal law called the Electronic Communication Transactional
Records Act regulates data preservation. It requires Internet
providers to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon
the request of a governmental entity."

"We were told, 'You're going to have to start thinking about data
retention if you don't want people to think you're soft on child
porn.'"  -- Dave McClure, president, U.S. Internet Industry
Association Child protection advocates say that this process can lead
police to dead ends if they don't move quickly enough and log files
are discarded automatically.  Also, many Internet service providers
don't record information about instant-messaging conversations or Web
sites visited -- data that would prove vital to an investigation.

"Law enforcement agencies are often having 20 reports referred to them
a week by the National Center," said Michelle Collins, director of the
exploited child unit for the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children. "By the time legal process is drafted, it could be 10, 15,
20 days. They're completely dependent on information from the ISPs to
trace back an individual offender."

Collins, who participated in the April meeting, said that she had not
reached a conclusion about how long log files should be
retained. "There are so many various business models ... I don't know
that there's going to be a clear-cut answer to what would be the
optimum amount of time for a company to maintain information," she

McClure, from the U.S. Internet Industry Association, said he
counter-proposed the idea of police agencies establishing their own
guidelines that would require them to seek logs soon after receiving

Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center,
compared the Justice Department's idea to the since-abandoned Clipper
Chip, a brainchild of the Clinton and first Bush White
House. Initially the Clipper Chip -- an encryption system with a
backdoor for the federal government -- was supposed to be voluntary,
but declassified documents show that backdoors were supposed to become

"Even if your concern is chasing after child pornographers, the
packets don't come pre-labeled that way," Rotenberg said. "What
effectively happens is that all ISP customers, when that data is
presented to the government, become potential targets of subsequent

A divided Europe

The Justice Department's proposal could import a debate that's been
simmering in Europe for years.

In Europe, a data retention proposal prepared by four nations said
that all telecommunications providers must retain generalized logs of
phone calls, SMS messages, e-mail communications and other "Internet
protocols" for at least one year. Logs would include the addresses of
Internet sites and identities of the correspondents but not
necessarily the full content of the communication.

Even after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush adminis-
tration criticized that approach. In November 2001, Mark Richard from
the Justice Department's criminal division said in a speech in
Brussels, Belgium, that the U.S. method offers Internet providers the
flexibility "to retain or destroy the records they generate based upon
individual assessments of resources, architectural limitations,
security and other business needs."

France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden jointly submitted their
data retention proposal to the European Parliament in April 2004. Such
mandatory logging was necessary, they argued, "for the purpose of
prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of crime or
criminal offenses including terrorism."

But a report prepared this year by Alexander Alvaro on behalf of the
Parliament's civil liberties and home affairs committee slammed the
idea, saying it may violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

Also, Alvaro wrote: "Given the volume of data to be retained,
particularly Internet data, it is unlikely that an appropriate
analysis of the data will be at all possible. Individuals involved in
organized crime and terrorism will easily find a way to prevent their
data from being traced." He calculated that if an Internet provider
were to retain all traffic data, the database would swell to a size of
20,000 to 40,000 terabytes -- too large to search using existing

On June 7, the European Parliament voted by a show of hands to adopt
Alvaro's report and effectively snub the mandatory data retention
plan. But the vote may turn out to have been largely symbolic: The
Council of Justice and Home Affairs ministers have vowed to press
ahead with their data retention requirement.

Copyright 2005 CNET Networks, Inc. and Declan McCullagh.

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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From: Lisa Minter <>
Subject: Cellphone Tax Started in Alexandria, VA
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 23:22:21 -0500

By Robert MacMillan
Special to The Washington Post

Using a cell phone is Alexandria is about to become more expensive --
$3 a month more expensive.

The City Council approved a new tax on cell phones as part of the
fiscal 2006 budget. It will help make up some of the money that the
city will lose after the real estate tax rate was lowered in order to
provide relief to homeowners. Residents will see the new charge on
their cell phone bills starting in September.

The tax will bring in an estimated $1.7 million in fiscal 2006, city
officials said, about one-third of 1 percent of the city's $468
million budget. Residents will pay $3 a month on cell phone bills of
more than $30, while those on lower-cost plans will be charged 10
percent of their monthly bill.

Other measures passed to offset the real estate tax cut include a
20-cent increase in cigarette sales tax and a new entertainment
surcharge on items such as movie tickets.

Taxing the growing number of cell phone users should help offset the
losses created by a reduction in the real estate tax rate, Mayor
William D. Euille (D) said.

"I was just sitting in my car at the intersection. I looked around at
15 or 20 other cars, and everybody had a cell phone," said Euille, who
estimates that he spends more than $100 a month on cell service.

Barry Murphy, a 46-year-old realty agent and Alexandria homeowner,
said the tax amounts to about a latte a month for him. He carries two
cell phones -- one that runs on Cingular's network and another on the
Verizon Wireless network-- and uses whichever one gets better
reception in a given part of town.

"I don't mind paying some taxes as long as [we get] more value" from
the city, said Murphy, who pays several hundred dollars a month in
cell phone bills.

But some residents said $3 could make the difference between being
able to afford a cell phone and going without.

Tawanda Moore said she works 25 hours a week at the Fuddruckers
restaurant on Duke Street for $7.50 an hour. She said the tax will
make it difficult for her to buy a cell phone.

"There are other ways for [the government] to get their money," said
Moore, 33.

For years, Alexandria has relied on a dependable 25 percent tax on
local phone service, bringing in an average of $7.50 per phone line
every month.  But the revenue stream has been drying up as more
residents drop their regular phone service for a cell phone-only
lifestyle. There were about 113,000 residential and business land
lines in operation in the city as of July 2004, a drop from more than
120,000 two years earlier, according to Bruce Johnson, director of the
city's Office of Management and Budget.

Federal Communications Commission statistics show a similar change
nationwide -- a 6 percent drop in U.S. land lines from 2000 to
2004. Four percent of U.S. households say they have cut the cord
altogether in favor of cell phones, but that number could swell to 12
percent by next year, according to a report released in May by
Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

In another indication of an accelerating shift from hard-wired phones
to mobile handsets, there were 173.2 million active phone lines as of
the end of 2004, while cell phone companies counted 178.2 million
users, according to IDC, a research firm also based in Cambridge.

"Obviously, a lot of people have figured out that they have two phones
in their life and they both serve the same purpose," said Kevin
Burden, a telecommunications analyst with IDC.

Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Spotsylvania counties already
have cell phone taxes. In Maryland, however, cell phone taxes sparked
an ongoing multimillion-dollar lawsuit by four cellular service
providers against Montgomery County and the city of Baltimore. 
Montgomery County collects a $2 monthly tax on cell usage,
while Baltimore collects $3.50 per month for each phone. Cell phone
companies argue that the fees amount to an illegal sales tax.

Montgomery County expects to raise more tax dollars from cell phones
than from land lines in 2005, the first time this has happened, said
Robert Hagedoorn, chief of the county's Treasury Division.

Verizon Wireless is one of the companies suing Baltimore and
Montgomery County, along with Cingular, Sprint and T-Mobile. It also
sued Pennsylvania to force the state to repeal a 5 percent
gross-receipts tax on cell phone use. That lawsuit is also pending.

Verizon officials say they do not plan to sue Alexandria or any other
Virginia jurisdiction because the state has a law in place that allows
local cell phone taxes, said Annabelle Canning, assistant general
counsel for tax policy for Verizon Wireless.

Instead, the cell phone industry will try to persuade the Virginia
General Assembly to approve legislation next year that would require
all telecommunications services to be taxed the same way throughout
the state.

A similar effort to set a straight 5 percent state tax failed earlier
this year after satellite companies such as DirecTV started a
letter-writing campaign, urging customers to write their
representatives and ask them to oppose what the companies said would
be a new tax on their service.

The Virginia effort highlights a debate about how different services
should be taxed when technological advances allow people to
communicate through a variety of devices. For example, people who use
cell phones, BlackBerrys and land-line phones will be taxed in
Alexandria, but not people who use increasingly popular Internet-based
phone services such as Vonage, because calls made over the Internet
are protected by a seven-year-old nationwide ban on Internet access

Robert MacMillan is a staff writer for He writes the Web
site's Random Access column, available 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.


From: (Scott Norwood)
Subject: Converting 4-Wire Autovon Phone to 2-Wire
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:05:19 UTC
Organization: Society for World Domination

It seems that I am now the proud (?) owner of an ex-military 3568
Autovon phone.  I would like to convert it to work on a standard
2-wire POTS line.  This particular one is a 1A2-type 6-button set,
with a 50-pin Amphenol connector on the end of the cable.  Is there an
easy way to do this (preferably using the network from a 2500 set or
other easily obtainable parts) without actually modifying the innards
of phone itself? Connecting pins 1 and 26 to tip and ring allows
listening and dialing on line 1, but (obviously) doesn't allow
transmitting speech.  Ideally, I would like the phone to ring, but
that isn't necessary.  I don't care about whether the button lights or
hold function work.

If anyone has the full pin configuration for this phone, I would be
very interested.  It looks like there is a buzzer and potentially
other fun stuff inside it.

Thanks for any suggestions.


Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 12:54:51 EDT
From: Telecom dailyLead from USTA <>
Subject: Intel Develops All-in-One Wi-Fi Chip

Telecom dailyLead from USTA
June 17, 2005

* Intel develops all-in-one Wi-Fi chip
* Motorola invests in Irish software maker
* BellSouth beefs up broadband staff
* Telecoms buying more online ads
* USTA Webinar:  How to Get the Most from Your Resources
* Google tests mobile search technology
* Skype flies high in North America
* Analysis: Yahoo! accelerates VoIP push with acquisition
* XO offers business VoIP service in San Antonio
* Comcast: Phone exec exit won't affect VoIP plans
* Verizon changes plan to expedite TV service rollout in New Jersey
* RIM offers technology that skirts patent claims
* Klausner sues AOL over voice technology

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

Legal and Privacy information at

SmartBrief, Inc.
1100 H ST NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005


From: AES <>
Subject: Monitor/Recorder for Residential Power Line Outages?
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 10:41:55 -0700
Organization: Stanford University

Any have pointers to a gadget that will monitor and log power outages
or glitches on 110V or 220V residential electrical service?

Looking for a home or retail level gadget that will work either
connected to a dedicated computer, or preferably free-standing with
periodic read-out to a computer, logging time and duration of both
longer outages and short glitches (anything long enough to cause
digital clocks and appliance displays to reset).

Asking on this group because a lot of tech-savvy people seem to hang
out on this group; glad to accept pointers to any other group.

Any way to make the computer itself (e.g., Mac iBook) do the sensing
and recording?


From: Joseph <>
Subject: Re: Email to Former AT&T Phones Now Cingular
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 22:47:55 -0700

On Thu, 16 Jun 2005 15:45:44 -0400, Isaiah Beard
<> wrote:

> Joseph wrote:

>> Also, what works for all North American mobile numbers is
>> e.g.  

> If you value your friendship or business relationship with the person
> you are messaging, then you would probably want to avoid teleflip.
> Neatly tucked into the recesses of their user agreement is a provision
> which permits them to "send messages through the service to any and
> all users" about "new or existing products or services to be offered
> by Teleflip."  In other words, they receive the right SMSpam people.

Of course anyone can be paranoid that their number will be shared.
I've used the service and never have been spammed.  If you are so
worried you probably shouldn't be sending text messages at all.  Text
messages are hardly secure.


From: PatETC <>
Subject: Need Help on Wireless
Date: 17 Jun 2005 05:23:42 -0700

I want to get a laptop computer to take when traveling and be able to
access the Internet.  I know absolutely nothing about wireless.  I
currently use AOL on a dial-up (the only thing available in my area).
I do know that I can use a laptop within a certain distance from the
wireless connection.

If I were to have a laptop in a location where wireless Internet is
available would I be able to access AOL and still be able to use my
desktop when home?

Do new laptops come with the wireless card or must it be purchased

Is wireless something I can have at home, even though I use dial-up
for AOL?  My granddaughter lives with us when not in college and she
has a laptop.  I'd like her to be able to use wireless when here.
What equipment will I need?

As you can tell I don't know much about this although I've had a
desktop computer for many years and am quite computer literate -- not
just about wireless.



[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Wireless connections consist of at
least two parts: the thin card (about the size/shape of a credit
card) which fits in the side of a laptop computer, and the 'base
station', which typically will be a 'wireless router' or some other
device which feeds into the modem. Typically, this 'base station'
is attached to some high speed, or broadband internet connection. I
suppose it could feed into a dial up connection, but I have never
seen it done that way. 

You _can_ use AOL or any other ISP on a high speed connection, such as
you have probably read about. To your modem (or router and modem) the
WiFi 'base station' is the computer, although you often times have to
'register' the MAC address of the wireless device with the ISP, as a
'new computer being used at your location'. At least, that is needed
on cable internet or DSL. When I have purchased new routers for my
system here, and put them on the cable, the first thing the cable
provider did was wake up and say, "oh, something new" and take me to a
'registration screen' where the cable internet provider wanted to know
all about the 'new computer' it would be dealing with.  If you buy a
new laptop for your grandchild, you may get a wifi card as part of the
deal, but if you do not need a new laptop, I suggest you buy the unit
as a separate thing. A NetGear wireless router and WiFi card costs 
about a hundred dollars total, but you can buy the cards as a separate
thing if you already have the 'base station'.  The card costs maybe
$40-50 by itself for a decent card to use in a home computer/laptop,
and comes with a full instruction/set up manual. 

An important word of caution: The range for these units is typically
between 100-200 feet, more or less, and line-of-sight is important
for best performance. _Anyone_ with a wireless card in _their_
computer within that range will be able to intercept and monitor your
work, any passwords or other details, unless you take a few
precautions: (1) it is a good idea to _not_ 'broadcast' your wireless
station's availability, and (2) it is a good idea to encrypt your
transmissions. Your instruction book will explain all that in more
detail. The encryption process will slow down your transmission speed
a little, but if you are going to be working via dialup as you said,
it probably will not make much difference. 

If you are paranoid like me, only two or three people here in town
even know of my wireless connection: I can sit on my back porch or
back yard garden by the bird sanctuary and communicate pretty well,
then I can come inside the house and switch to my desktop machine (a
different port on the same router) and continue from there. I _can_ go
out on my front sidewalk and sit on the ledge there also but when
people occassionally walk past they see me doing it; and anyway, there
is a fellow across the streeet with a Wi-fi set up and I have noticed
I can get now and then _his_ setup, so I assume he can 'see' mine
also. But not from my backyard. If you get a wireless router (as well
as the card) then you should be able to go back and forth between
desktop and laptop with ease. And when your grandchild is there she
should be able to use her laptop with the wireless card as well, but
probably not both of you at once unless you get a bigger 'pipe' than
dialup.  Do you have any more questions? I am sure the experts here
will be glad to help you or walk you through the installation as
needed.  PAT]


Subject: Re: Bell Divestiture
Date: 17 Jun 2005 07:00:37 -0700

Fred Goldstein wrote:

> Monopolies in LD transmission?  That
> would have held up the price of data transmission, slowing down all
> sorts of datacomm.  Ma Bell viewed leased lines, so necessary for
> data, as a substitute for profitable long distance minutes of use, so
> they overpriced them.  The RBOCs still do the same thing with their
> Special Access tariffs!

But long distance rates for both switched and private line service
were both on the way down well before actual divesture.  Also, faster
and faster digital lines were being installed before divesture.

I maintain it was mostly technology -- cheaper terminal equipment and
carrier media followed by higher call volume and greater economies of
scale -- that caused and still cause long distance rates to fall.

As Pat noted in his comments, in the early days MCI had a big advanage
serving only the high profit markets with no obligation to handle the
expensive stuff or provide support services.  Any time a phone call
had trouble they dump it into AT&T's lap.

> Let's say digital leased line rates were, instead, regulated at
> cost-based levels.

Are you sure they weren't?  I'm not that familiar with private line
tarrifs, but as mentioned my own employer's network went down in price
and up in speed before divesture.  Private networks, such as owned and
run by railroads, were shifted over to AT&T since it was cheaper for
AT&T to provide it than doing it themselves.  Considering they already
had a network in place, there must be have been good cost savings to
dump it for AT&T.

> But without local competition in 1996, and with the Internet going
> public when it did in 1992, I suggest that the BOC networks would have
> collapsed in 1996!  The RBOC networks came within months of doing so.
> Dial-up Internet traffic was exploding.  Bell System culture bought
> switches on a 5-year planning schedule, so they could not react
> quickly.  CLECs were authorized in February, 1996, and by the end of
> the year they were carrying substantial dial-up ISP traffic. ...
> AOL did not use CLECs in 1996, and the RBOCs could
> not provide circuits fast enough (I know; I was working on AOLnet at
> the time).  Other ISPs did, and that prevented more RBOC switches from
> melting down under the load.

I'm not sure "months of collapse" is an accurate characterization.

The Internet boom did not happen suddenly overnight.  Remember that
since the 1960s people used dial-up to communicate with computers and
this traffic continued to grow.  Hobbyists with early home computers
began to talk to each other then BBS's came along.  The RBOC were
serving this growing traffic all along; and it was well recognized and
expected it would increase greatly.  There were the early services
such as Compuserve and Prodigy.

Remember too that many users got a second telephone line for their
computer use.  At the same time, the real (inflation adjusted) cost of
local phone service went down and more people got second lines for
their kids.  The phone companies were planning and responding to this
all along -- expanding switch and local loop capacity.

> America will, as a result, fall even farther behind the rest of the
> world in most matters of telecom.

Is the U.S. really "behind" the rest of the world?  Ironically, prior
to divesture the U.S. was by far the leader in telecom service.
Indicators like cost, lines per person, etc. all were best for the
U.S. wrote:

> The No. 1ESS was basically a No 5XBAR with stored program control
> (SPC).  The real motivator was to cut labor cost and secondarily to be
> able to market special calling features.

Well, basically every switch was an advancement on the basic Strowger
unit which itself was to eliminate manual operators.

But I suspect the ESS offered more benefits than you suggest.  I
believe it took up less floor space and operated faster, so it could
handle more calls in the same building.  I believe it was more
reliable and more flexible.

Also, since the Bell System's rates were based partly on cost, cost
savings would be passed along to the customer which they were.  In a
time of great inflation local rates remain nearly level.

> Not knocking that nice forward step in switching, but it was good for
> Ma Bell first, and the customer could (would) ride along for whatever
> benefits it gave to the subscribers.

But isn't that what EVERY business does?  Any large business has teams
of engineers figuring out ways to do things cheaper.  Then the
marketing people tell us something that is more inconvenient is
actually an "improvement".

When airlines buy new jet planes, they do so because the planes are
more fuel efficient and need less crew to fly, rather than making
flying better for the passenger.

Indeed, in many telephone service has gotten worse for us end users
because of cost savings.  Instead of a live PBX operator serving us,
we get a machine and phone mail jail.  Ironically, the old Bell System
constantly implored its business customers to provide excellent
service on their PBXs -- it offered training and guides and support

[Telecom Editor's Note]

> Bell got hit so bad for a few years, they finally decided they had
> to rebuild the entire phone system from the ground up, and the answer
> to that was ESS. So as you stated, Bell did not develop ESS in order
> to make a few dollars selling 'custom calling features' to users; ESS
> was developed so the telephone company could regain control of a
> network which was rapidly getting out of control.

Another major reason for the system rebuild was to protect the network
itself.  The "phone phreaks" were using 'blue boxes' to take control
of the network and lock up long distance trunks.  While mostly used to
save money, it was potentially very dangerous.

As to the issue of not interested in providing the customer with
advanced features, I'm not sure I agree.  According to Bell Labs
Record and the history books, advanced service features (especially
for business users) were important.

The Bell System did not have to retrofit Step-by-step exchanges with
Touch Tone converters -- it didn't save them any money.  But they
still developed four models for various SxS situations.

The Bell System didn't have to develop the Princess or Trimline
telephone sets.  But they did.  And we know they put a heck of a lot
of effort into optimizing the design for user comfort.

The entire history of the Bell System has been one of improving the
economies of scale to lower the cost to get more traffic and make more


From: (Robert Bonomi)
Subject: Re: Bell Divesture (was Re: Schools Prohibit Personal E-mail Sites)
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:17:18 -0000
Organization: Widgets, Inc.

In article <>,
<> wrote:

> Robert Bonomi wrote:

>> If the "Bell System/AT&T/Western Electric" had remained a monolithic
>> entity, The rate of change in the "Internet" would likely have been
>> much slower.  There probably would not have been the telecom boom/bust
>> of circa 5 years ago,

> What is your basis to claim "the rate of change in the Internet
> would likely have been much slower"?

A knowledge of telecom history.   :)

Bell system/AT&T/WEco was _very_ conservative in outlook.  They didn't
deploy anything until it was thoroughly tested and determined to be
sufficiently reliable.

They were driven mostly by "what is best for the telephone company",
and only incidentally by 'what is best for the telephone customer".

Most "improvements" in customer capabilities came because the monolith
waqs -pushed- into it.  And were implemented on a "gouge the end-user
for all it is worth" basis.  Look at the deployment of 'touch tone'
dialing for one example.  The primary advantage of touch-tone was to
the telco. it reduced the time that 'expensive' switching resources
were tied up for the handling of a given call; this allowed the telco
to reduce the _number_ of such expensive resources required to handle
a given volume of calls; thus reducing the telco's _cost_ for handling
that volume of calls.  Yet the telco made the user _pay_extra_ to use
this 'save the telco money' feature.  As a result, some FORTY YEARS LATER,
the telco _still_ has to support 'pulse' dialing.  And the expenses of
*two* signal schemes for dialing.

Imagine what would have happened if the telco had offered a _discount_
(even a small one, say $0.50/month) for lines that were touch-tone
dialing *only*, from day 1.  I suspect that 'pulse' dial would have
dropped out of the tariffs 20 years ago; because nobody was using it.

The Bell/AT&T/WEco record on 'data communications' is similarly
'lagging edge'.  I've _never_ heard of a "Bell Standard" for speeds
above 1200 baud over voice-grade (aka dial-up) circuits. And that
specification was 'unusable' except for direct-connect hardware; If
you were stuck with 'acoustic coupler' interface requirements, The
best telco spec was "Bell 103", 450 baud or below, (an 'enhanced'
specification, added later, pushed the upper-limit to 600 baud --
wow!)  Racal-Vadic, on the other hand, had an acoustic coupler capable
specification for 1200 baud that worked.  And with far less of a
'noise' problem than "Bell 212".  Don't forget U.S.Robotics, or Hayes,
who had 9600-baud over dial-up units.  Or Trailblazer, that had one
capable of 19,200 baud.

Yet, the Bells only offered 'lease-line' service for 2400 and above.
either 4-wire lease-line for 202, 206, 208, 209, etc type modems, or
DDS.  And, DDS was priced at "an arm and half a leg".

> It seems that many critics of the former Bell System "freeze it" at
> the time of divesture.  That is, they presume the Bell System's
> physical plant and operating policies would never change and remain in
> 1983 technology.  That premise is absurb. 

Strawman argument.

> Throughout its history the Bell System was improving its plant.  The
> system of 1983 was radically different than the system of 1973, and
> clearly the system of 1993 and 2003 would be radically different
> than 1983.

> I know that data communications improved greatly just during the late
> 1970s, for example.  Digital lines replaced analog lines for faster
> speed and higher reliability.  Private line costs were coming down.

> It is also clear operating policies and service plans would have
> changed, too.  (They were always envolving in the past).  How or what
> is tougher to say -- it depends on the external environment.

> Don't forget the Bell System was heavilly controlled by (1)
> regulation and (2) the consent decree.  We know that deregulation
> became popular later on.  It's possible the Bell System may have
> been allow to adjust its rates so the the profitable corridors (the
> "cream") may have gotten discounts so Bell could compete fairly
> against newcomers.  It's possible the Bell System may have escaped
> the consent decree -- just as IBM was able to do -- and go into new
> markets previously closed to it.

> Who knows, perhaps LANS and WANS would've been bult FASTER had
> the Bell System been allowed to be involved and use it strengths.

Actual history argues against that 'unfounded speculation'.

Starting with their 'concept' of how high-speed/high-volume data
networking should be done (ATM).  Which, because of the miniscule size
of the 'payload', has an _incredible_ layer of overhead; with all
sorts of 'per connection' overhead carried in _every_ packet --
primarily to ensure that every packet could have 'cost accounting'
done at _every_intermediate_ point.

And it disregards the existance of the various 'public packet-data
networks' (Tymenet, Telenet, Bitnet, Autonet, etc.) that were
_already_ in existence.


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