TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: "All the President's Men" (Still More Movie Phone Trivial)

Re: "All the President's Men" (Still More Movie Phone Trivial)
Fri, 22 Jun 2007 08:22:28 -0700

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note:

> Then Ameritech took over. One of the first things they did was
> announce _no more call packs_, ...

Around the time of divesture it was said the telephone rates would be
restructured to match cost against usage. Thus we saw new charges for
411, operator assistance, wire repair, etc.

At that time they also predicted the end of flat rate service on the
grounds that some people used it very extensively while others used it
sparingly. In the 1980s the telephone was used more than ever, along
with businesses operating from home and home computers. As you noted,
some places did eliminate flat rate plans. As a big phone talker, I
was concerned.

But the explosion in technology -- cheaper switches and line terminal
eqiupment, fibre optic lines -- made it possible to hold the line on
some rates and eventually offer national unlimited. Admittedly, my
national unlimited is only a few dollars more than metro unlimited.

Undoubtedly the phone company was concerned with the use of computers
on voice lines and the heavy usage of equipment. But many people with
computers got second or third phone lines just for the computer, which
offset the cost. Now of course people are shifting to dedicated lines
like DSL. (What happened to ISDN?) Verizon is pushing FIOS like
crazy even though they holding back installing it in apt complexes.

In any event, in thinking about the movie, so much has changed in
telecommunications. Think about how Woodward and Bernstein would've
done things differently with cell phones, fax, and the internet, as
well as Deep Throat and the efforts to identify Deep Throat. Indeed,
just by 1980 (six years) things had changed a lot.

From a _technological_ point of view, I never understood Watergate.
(Let's leave politics and Nixon out of this). The Watergate scandal
wasn't about the Watergate Apt breakin, it was about numerous other
wiretaps that were "illegal" and then the effort to cover them up.
But if Nixon's people wanted to wiretap, why didn't they just ask the
friendly compliant phone company to do so under "national security"?
AFAIK, the phoneco cooperated with such requests and didn't ask
questions. Indeed at that very time the phoneco was working with the
Justice Dept to help track down Blue Box users.

Or, by that time, the technology existed to just add a recorder
external to the drop line on the outside of a building and no one
would know about it.

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