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The Telecom Digest for December 1, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 304 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: Update on at&t/T-mobile merger (Geoffrey Welsh)
Intercarrier Compensation and the Universal Service Fund (Fred Goldstein)
Re: Update on at&t/T-mobile merger (John David Galt)
P.S. on Mobile Informational Call Act (HAncock4)
Pending legislation would allow robot calls to cell phones (HAncock4)
Re: Hedy Lamarr--actress/radio inventor (Geoffrey Welsh)
Re: Update on at&t/T-mobile merger (Geoffrey Welsh)
Re: MSNBC/NYT: Caller ID Forging (Geoffrey Welsh)
Re: MSNBC/NYT: Caller ID Forging (John David Galt)

====== 30 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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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

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Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 19:13:34 -0500 From: "Geoffrey Welsh" <gwelsh@spamcop.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Update on at&t/T-mobile merger Message-ID: <3e204$4ed42371$cf707dba$10230@PRIMUS.CA> John Levine wrote: > The obvious approach of T-Mo and Sprint merging to get bigger scale > doesn't work, because Sprint is CDMA and T-Mo is GSM, and the costs of > converting one network to the other band would be enormous. I thought exactly the same thing when Bell Canada Mobility and Telus announced a couple of years ago that they would be installing a GSM network alongside their CDMA networks. As I understood it, when Rogers acquired Microcell Communications (original owner of the Fido brand), Canada's only two GSM-based carriers became one, and that one company was the only one that could provide roaming service for GSM customers from around the globe. Now, I understand that roaming rates may be profitable compared to local service, but I had a hard time believing that it would make economic sense to build out a GSM network alongside the CDMA network that the telcos had spent so many years building, even more so if you expected that they'd have to do it all over again in a couple of years with LTE. It just goes to show you what I know about telecom and economics: Bell and Telus now sell GSM phones, though they continue to operate their CDMA networks for those of us who haven't traded in our phones yet. > Sprint hasn't even finished figuring out what > it's going to do with Nextel's network. Speaking of which, Telus (by way of acquiring Clearnet Communications) operates the iDEN network in Canada under the brand name "Mike." Apparently it's still available, though it's been years since I've heard or seen it advertised.
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 23:44:44 -0500 From: Fred Goldstein <invalid.see.website@ionary.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Intercarrier Compensation and the Universal Service Fund Message-ID: <CAFY5RQLVMHoMA=AG8_fhpQU=4BcWq6C-DR6M3Ly7Vuxi8p02Tw@mail.gmail.com> The FCC has released a 759-page Report and Order on Intercarrier Compensation and the Universal Service Fund. Much of which is a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, meaning that close to half of the open issues are still not settled, so they're taking comments for maybe the seventh time or so. Overall, the R&O could have been a lot worse. It still reflects no real vision or understanding of the dynamics of either PSTN or Internet, and results in a system so complex that it's best explained by Benoit Mandelbrot's book "The Fractal Geometry of Nature". But I've seen much worse from the FCC in the past. At least they made a an attempt to balance mulitple interests. But I found at least one "in your face" flagrant error, the kind you make because you want to flex your muscles openly and show you have the power to declare the value of pi to be 3. The whole "phantom calling" thing requires carriers to populate and pass along Calling Party Number end to end, and to pass along Charge Number when different. Never mind that this is still not feasible with most SIP; that's SIP's fault and ... others have noted it. That's not the issue. And never mind that there are VoIP applications that are one-way without a CPN on the originating end, so the intermediate point (PSTN gateway) is the only CPN. They ignore that. No, the flagrant one is that they are not requiring tandem owners to forward CIC and OCN to the terminating carrier, just CPN and CN. So you can use CPN or CN to determine the nominal rate center of the originator, to determine which rate to apply. But you don't know whom to bill! If it's an IXC call, the CIC identifies the carrier, and terminating carriers bill the IXC, not the originating carrier If it's intraLATA, the OCN identifies the carrier. (Phone number has no more meaning than DNS name; it's just a name, carrier-independent, looked up in the LNP database in order to terminate calls.) But tandem operators don't have to pass them. So terminating carriers have to purchase (yes, of course, there's money here) Daily Usage Files (DUFs) from the tandem owners for after-the-fact batch processing, in order to collect their intercarrier compensation from the right place. This is a big racket for Verizon and I suspect other ILECs. The FCC's rationale? No legal authority. This is in the middle of an Order filled with broad claims of authority. It's like saying that Jack Johnson couldn't board the Titanic because the ship couldn't hanlde his weight. No, you don't make up excuses like that unless you're making a VERY LOUD dogwhistle to the big tandem-owning LECs that you're giving them a big gift. ** -- Fred Goldstein k1io fgoldstein "at" ionary.com ionary Consulting ** **** ** http://www.ionary.com/ +1 617 795 2701 ***** Moderator's Note ***** Copied from Fred's post to the Cybertelecom-L mailing list, with his permission. I shortened the subject line, and any transcription errors are my fault. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 14:41:03 -0800 From: John David Galt <jdg@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Update on at&t/T-mobile merger Message-ID: <jb12m0$n1p$1@blue-new.rahul.net> On 2011-11-27 12:04, r.e.d. wrote: > I'm not sure your characterization of the point of the breakup is completely > correct. My understanding is that the issue was not size, but that fact > that AT&T owned not only long distance and equipment manuracturing. but > local service. Creative accounting could cause the regulated local services > to subsidize the other parts of the business, particularly long distance, at > the expense of local rate-payers, so fair competition for long distance > services would not be possible as long as it remained one company. It was the other way around. Long distance subsidized local service. It was set up that way deliberately, partly because the FCC wanted universal service. Pre-divestiture, some long distance calls within California were over $3/min, while measured service (non-Lifeline) could be had for under $4/month. As soon as MCI won the right to compete, that subsidy became untenable -- it just made Ma Bell's own long distance rates uncompetitive. This is why we now have much higher monthly service rates, but much cheaper long distance rates.
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 13:30:22 -0800 (PST) From: HAncock4 <withheld@invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: P.S. on Mobile Informational Call Act Message-ID: <cc4b0910-58cc-47a2-8bd9-856edcb31022@o1g2000vbe.googlegroups.com> Here is a blog from a banker's collection agency that is for the bill. They say if a consumer gives someone their cell phone number-- say an airline--the airline would not be allowed to call it to report a delayed flight. I don't think that's accurate. Anyway, this blog gives a very different perspective on the bill (they're for it). [I don't agree]. http://varoliiblog.com/ [public replies, please]
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 13:09:04 -0800 (PST) From: HAncock4 <withheld@invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Pending legislation would allow robot calls to cell phones Message-ID: <7eb3bcc6-8ce5-41aa-ad8b-dfa18fc8f232@o9g2000vbc.googlegroups.com> This bill apparently will allow sales calls to go to cell phones. As a low use cell phone user who still pays a la carte usage charges, I am naturally very upset at this proposal. Further, I don't understand how Congress could propose this given how much everyday citizens hate the telemarketing calls they get now. The "do not call" lists are often ignored by sleazy telemarketers and it's very hard for consumers to fight back. Worse, many groups (non profits, political, "previous business") have exemptions so they call people freely despite a subscriber's wishes. One article by Celeste Katz in the NY Daily News talks about this. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2011/11/telemarketers-collectors-could-target-cells-under-mobile-information-call-act- (Alternate URL, same content: (http://tinyurl.com/6v5vwj4) ( I would appreciate hearing the thoughts of other digest readers on this bill. Is anyone actually in favor of it? Are there any facts I'm not aware of? [public replies please] Here is a statement for the bil. I must admit, based on past experience, I am suspicous: http://leeterry.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1852:the-mobile-informational-call-act-of-2011&catid=3:press-releases (Alternate URL, same content: (http://tinyurl.com/7h9x8z5) ( Collection of other comments: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h3035/news ***** Moderator's Note ***** I added the alternate URL's in the above post, and changed the subject to make it more clear. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 16:11:09 -0500 From: "Geoffrey Welsh" <gwelsh@spamcop.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Hedy Lamarr--actress/radio inventor Message-ID: <e26ba$4ed3f89d$cf707dba$32477@PRIMUS.CA> Joseph Singer wrote: > Indeed, Heddy Lamarr was responsible for the first use of the > technology known as CDMA which is one of two major mobile telephone > technologies. ISTR that, back when WiLAN actually produced equipment,* their web site detailed Ms. Lamarr's inventiveness and how much modern wireless communication owed her. I just took a quick look at their web site but it seems she is now mentioned only in one news item from 2000. * I used a pair of their fixed wireless Ethernet bridges a little over a decade ago when a company filled its main office space and expanded into a building down the road but the local ILEC indicated that they did not have capacity to provision a data circuit between the two. They were a good solution for the time, but WiLAN seems to be out of the equipment business these days and in the business of acquiring and licensing patents.
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 18:49:48 -0500 From: "Geoffrey Welsh" <gwelsh@spamcop.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Update on at&t/T-mobile merger Message-ID: <e12b2$4ed41e01$cf707dba$22823@PRIMUS.CA> HAncock4 wrote: > To me it seems if the whole point of the Bell System Divesture was > that public interest required smaller competing companies, I thought the principle behind the AT&T divestiture was that a company which derives income from a monopoly (explicit or de facto) in one market should not be permitted to compete in another market. So, AT&T could not leverage their 'our way (or price) or the highway' position with local services to gain an advantage when competing in the computer (or long distance) markets. As to why the local business had to be broken into regional companies and not just one local service company, that's not so obvious to me.
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 16:28:09 -0500 From: "Geoffrey Welsh" <gwelsh@spamcop.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: MSNBC/NYT: Caller ID Forging Message-ID: <47334$4ed3fc94$cf707dba$841@PRIMUS.CA> r.e.d. wrote: > Can someone point to technical articles/references/etc. giving > details about how various methods of caller-id spoofing work? [...] > To allay concerns, I want to understand this better to try to figure > out ways to alleviate the problem. The old fashioned way was to order digital trunk service such as an ISDN PRI and configure your PBX to send false numbers. The telcos accepted the numbers provided when the call was set up because that enabled the PBX to (for example) provide the DID number for the actual caller rather than the number for main reception. The obvious way to stop that abuse would be for the telco switches to verify that the number provided was associated with the trunk in question; I don't know if this isn't done because it's too much work, or the switches don't have the capability, or because the large organizations with direct digital network access also sometimes routed calls over private lines and thus might legitimately place a call, say, from an office trunk in New York using a number associated with a trunk provisioned in Los Angeles (with the additional complication that those trunks might be provided by different LECs.) I'm not sure if the proliferation of VoIP has created new mechanisms for caller ID forging; I hope someone familiar with the topic can comment. > it's irritating to me that a service intended > to eliminate heavy breathers is now being subverted. I view it as an arms race, with telcos as the arms dealers: they offer you caller ID (at a price), then charge companies for the capability to override it. Neither of you is any further ahead than you were before called ID was invented, but you're both paying the telco for an additional service. And, yes, that is very irritating.
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 14:27:47 -0800 From: John David Galt <jdg@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: MSNBC/NYT: Caller ID Forging Message-ID: <jb11t4$mph$1@blue-new.rahul.net> On 2011-11-27 12:23, r.e.d. wrote: > To allay concerns, I want to understand this better to try to figure out > ways to alleviate the problem. I'm an ex-big-telecom systems engineer (Bell > Labs, etc.) who was in the business when Local Area Signaling Services (SS7 > for local switches) was introduced, making Caller-ID possible, and it's > irritating to me that a service intended to eliminate heavy breathers is now > being subverted. Caller ID was sold to the public as a way to "eliminate heavy breathers", but that was a Big Lie from day one, which is why states such as California didn't have the service until the FCC forced the issue. The real purpose, of course, was to enable businesses to gather the numbers and use them to place junk calls. Caller ID is normally inserted by the switch where each call originates, and is carried from one switch to another by SS7 (though there is still some older equipment out there which doesn't support SS7 and so can't pass it along). While it is possible to fool some Caller ID displays by sending a phony ID signal during the call (the actual signal is sent between the first and second ring), by far the dominant way it is faked is for the call to come from a PBX which is programmed to send the fake number. The only way to prevent this would be for the next switch that handles the call to check whether the number sent by caller ID legitimately belongs to the PBX owner (and refuse to pass it along if it doesn't) -- which would be easy but which telcos have resisted because they want all the traffic they can get, including traffic the recipient doesn't want. If the FCC were our friend it would have required this when Caller ID was first introduced.
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