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Volume 28 : Issue 8 : "text" Format

Messages in this Issue:
  Re: Any user reviews of the Magic Jack? 
  Re: Any user reviews of the Magic Jack? 
  Advice sought: Sierra Wireless Air Card 881 
  Obama's Broadband Plan 
  Re: Obama's Broadband Plan 
  Re:  Re: Any user reviews of the Magic Jack?

====== 27 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 08:54:14 -0800 (PST)
From: "" <>
Subject: Re: Any user reviews of the Magic Jack? 
Message-ID: <>

On Jan 6, 12:40 pm, John Levine <> wrote:

> Lingo has a $7/mo plan with free incoming calls, free outgoing to
> US/Canada toll-free numbers and other Lingo customers, and about 3 cpm
> for most other calls.

I use OneSuite, [which has] no monthly charge, and [I] never pay more
then 3CPM. Since I use my regular POTS all incoming calls are free,
[and] I don't have to leave a computer on.

OneSuite is as low as 1.9CPM to USA-Canada: [it] works as [a] prepaid
phone card, [and a] PIN [is] not needed for calls from home or [a]
cell phone.


Date: 8 Jan 2009 21:35:38 -0000
From: John Levine <>
Subject: Re: Any user reviews of the Magic Jack? 
Message-ID: <>

>> Lingo has a $7/mo plan with free incoming calls, free outgoing to
>> US/Canada toll-free numbers and other Lingo customers, and about 3 cpm
>> for most other calls.
>I use OneSuite, [which has] no monthly charge, and [I] never pay more
>then 3CPM. Since I use my regular POTS all incoming calls are free,
>[and] I don't have to leave a computer on.

You're comparing apples and oranges.

Onesuite's main offering is a calling card that you use for outbound
calls in connection with an existing phone, or over the net via a
softphone that runs on your PC.  It's a perfectly decent calling card,
but 3cpm is not particular cheap these days.  It happens to be the
same price Lingo charges for outbound calls on its $7 plan.

If you want incoming phone service from Onesuite, they have something
called SuiteAdvantage for $3/mo extra, but that ties up your PC since
you have to be running their softphone to accept calls.  I'd use the
Magicjack dongle instead.



Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 18:46:55 GMT
From: tlvp <>
Subject: Advice sought: Sierra Wireless Air Card 881 
Message-ID: <>


For use with both T-Mobile, here in the USA, and Orange in Poland, I'm
contemplating getting a Sierra AirCard 881 Wireless Unlocked High Speed
PC Card from one of the vendors offering it through Amazon or eBay.
Though AT&T-branded, it's allegedly "unlocked".

My questions, addressed to those who know anything about it, whether
 from reviews (I haven't actually been able to find any, myself) or
 from first-hand experience:

* Does it live up to its "High Speed" billing (7.2 Mbps DL speed)?
* Is it reliable or flaky?
* Is its driver installation a hassle or straightforward?
* Any other pros or cons you'd care to call to my attention?
* Is there a USB version that "runs cooler and more reliably"?
(each candidate notebook, below, has both USB ports & PCMCIA slot)
* Does 75 bucks sound fair, high, or low as price for this?

I'm most likely to be wanting to use it with an XP notebook,
or perhaps a Vista notebook; by the time I really need it, in
Poland in April, I may even have Ubuntu 8.04 available as well.

Thanks in advance for your advice, and ...

Cheers, -- tlvp


Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 16:07:21 -0500
From: Will Roberts <>
Subject: Obama's Broadband Plan 
Message-ID: <>

January 7, 2009

Obama's Broadband Plan
    Tax breaks for companies that increase Internet speed or create 
    new networks are likely to go to existing large players

Arik Hesseldahl 

The Obama Administration has pledged support for universal broadband, or making 
speedy Internet service available to all Americans. But the ideas under 
consideration by the President-elect's transition team are likely to fall short 
of the radical changes some activists have sought. 

At the core of the $20 billion to $30 billion effort under discussion by Obama's 
advisers are tax breaks for companies that extend the availability of broadband 
or, in regions where it already exists, boost the speed of service, several 
people involved in the discussions tell BusinessWeek. Companies that build 
broadband networks in areas with no service could receive as much as 60% of 
their investment back in tax credits. Companies that increase the speed of 
existing networks could get tax credits of as much as 40%. The tax incentives 
also could be structured to promote high broadband speeds, according to Jeffrey 
Campbell, director of technology and communications policy for network equipment 
maker Cisco Systems (CSCO). For example, some analysts say the government could 
give 20% tax credits for 20-megabit-per-second service and 40% credits for 100-
megabit service. 

As currently conceived, the incentives would be available to any company. 
However, those most likely to benefit would be existing broadband providers 
such as AT&T (T), Verizon Communications (VZ), and Comcast (CMCSA), because 
they have the capital to make investments, and it costs less to extend their 
networks than it does to build new ones. The new Administration appears 
unlikely to push forcefully for more competition in broadband, an idea that 
activist groups such as Free Press and Public Knowledge say is essential if 
the U.S. wants to catch up to broadband leaders such as Korea. "Broadband is 
a natural duopoly," counters Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information 
Technology & Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank. Proposals to 
create a third competitor to take on the telecom and cable companies in most 
markets, he says, are "misguided." 

Bonds in the Offing?

The Obama transition team is still working on the broadband plan, and details 
could change. One issue that has not been resolved is whether the federal 
government will help companies issue bonds to finance broadband buildouts. Such 
a program could help companies such as Clearwire (CLWR), a struggling Kirkland 
(Wash.) startup that wants to roll out wireless broadband service across the 
country. Blair Levin, point person for broadband on the transition team, 
declined to comment for this story. 

Levin and his team are working on proposals to stimulate demand for broadband 
service. Schools, libraries, and health-care organizations could get tax breaks 
or grants for expanding the range of services they offer online. One of Obama's 
talking points during the Presidential campaign was that wider use of digital 
health records could improve the industry's productivity and cut costs. 

In addition to the tax credits under discussion, the federal government may also 
provide grants to states for the construction of broadband networks in regions 
that never get coverage. States probably would use the money to hire private 
companies to build networks in remote areas. The Agriculture Dept. already has 
a Rural Development Broadband Program, which has connected nearly 600,000 
households in 40 states since 2002. 

The broadband push is an important part of the Obama Administration's broader 
stimulus plan because it addresses several goals. Besides creating immediate 
jobs in construction and allowing more people to use the Internet, the effort 
could raise the country's broadband standing internationally. Once ranked fourth 
in the world by the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, the 
U.S. has fallen to 15th among developed countries in broadband penetration, well 
behind nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway. "Broadband is the 
key to America's economic future," says S. Derek Turner, research director at 
Free Press. "Broadband is a great way to create thousands of new jobs, but we 
have to do it in the right way." 

Although details of the Obama plan have not been announced, telecom and cable 
companies are in favor of the government's support for universal broadband. 
"It's a worthy goal," says Thomas J. Tauke, executive vice-president at Verizon 
Communications. The existing broadband companies say it's crucial that 
Washington doesn't hurt the ongoing investments in Internet infrastructure. 
Many outfits, for example, don't think the government should make direct 
investments in broadband networks that could compete against the telecom and 
cable players' services. 

But Turner at Free Press is skeptical that a broadband program relying heavily 
on tax credits is the best approach. The risk, he says, is that the country 
will fail to encourage competition, and the money spent will go largely to 
the telecom and cable companies that already dominate the business. "There's 
no point to doing all this if all we're doing is writing the incumbent 
[players] a blank check," he says. 


***** Moderator's Note *****

We have seen this before: no sooner did the bottom fall out of the
stock market than every company in America lined up at the public
trough and started smacking their lips. Well-meaning and sincere
efforts by public servants are being co-opted into profit
opportunities for the those well-connected inside the beltway.

The idea of a "stimulus" is to put men and woman back on the
employment rolls, not to give corporate fat cats the chance to award
themselves more million dollar bonuses. We have seen this before.

Bill Horne
Temporary Moderator


Date: 09 Jan 2009 03:58:53 GMT
From: David Clayton <>
Subject: Re: Obama's Broadband Plan 
Message-ID: <4966cb7d$0$28498$>

On Thu, 08 Jan 2009 21:35:20 -0500, Will Roberts wrote:

> January 7, 2009
> Obama's Broadband Plan
> ----------------------
>     Tax breaks for companies that increase Internet speed or create new
>     networks are likely to go to existing large players
Can someone remind me when the term "Broadband" - which is a *specific* 
description of a particular usage of technology - was co-opted to then 
cover any sort of high-speed Internet service?

If we want to be technically correct, restricting people to a "Broadband" 
service for their Internet connection will hold back the industry.

I use NDSL myself, so I ceased using "Broadband" the moment my voice 
service was removed from my pair of wires.

Regards, David.

David Clayton
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a
measure of how many questions you have.


Date: 8 Jan 2009 21:25:37 -0000
From: John Levine <>
Subject: Re:  Re: Any user reviews of the Magic Jack?
Message-ID: <>

>> That's what all the regular VoIP providers do.  They give you a box
>> which has an ethernet plug on one side and an RJ-11 on the other, or
>> in some cases they sell you a router with the VoIP box built in.
>    I realize that.  But do you know of any of them that offer it for
>twenty dollars per year?  That's why I'd prefer to use their network
>but with a standalone device rather than having to tie up cycles on my
>PC.  As I previously said, I'd gladly pay an extra one time charge for
>the hardware.

I don't know of anyone else who assigns you a phone number cheaper
than Lingo.  If you're willing to tie up your PC and accept their ads
(see the terms of service), the price for Magic Jack is hard to beat.



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