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The Telecom Digest for Fri, 19 Feb 2016
Volume 35 : Issue 33 : "text" format

Table of contents
Today's "get out of jail free" card price: 795 MillionDanny Burstein
Re: Comcast outages anger thousands across USScott Dorsey
Re: Comcast outages anger thousands across USHAncock4
Re: Comcast outages anger thousands across USJohn David Galt
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.64.1602181644040.17429@panix5.panix.com> Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2016 16:44:28 -0500 From: Danny Burstein <dannyb@panix.com> Subject: Today's "get out of jail free" card price: 795 Million That's dollars, not rubles. (Although the press release suggsts there's a spot of additional change being seized as well). [DOJ press release] Global Telecommunications Company And Its Subsidiary Charged In Massive Bribery Scheme Involving Uzbek Official; Company To Pay $795 Million In Penalties ... [US Attorney] Preet Bharara ... announced today the filing of criminal charges against VimpelCom Limited ("VimpelCom"), the world's sixth-largest telecommunications company, with securities publicly traded in New York, and its wholly owned Uzbek subsidiary, Unitel LLC ("Unitel") for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") by paying more than $114 million in bribes to a government official in Uzbekistan. ... DOJ also filed a civil complaint today seeking forfeiture of $550 million held in Swiss bank accounts which represent proceeds of illegal bribes paid, or property involved in the laundering of those payments, to the Uzbek official by VimpelCom and two other telecommunications companies operating in Uzbekistan. ========= rest: http://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/global-telecommunications-company-and-its-subsidiary-charged-massive-bribery-scheme _____________________________________________________ Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key dannyb@panix.com [to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded] ------------------------------ Message-ID: <na4m2d$icg$1@panix2.panix.com> Date: 18 Feb 2016 09:56:13 -0500 From: kludge@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) Subject: Re: Comcast outages anger thousands across US David Clayton <dc33box-cdt@yahoo.com.au> wrote: > >Do people actually realise that companies will not ever have heaps of >people sitting around 99.9% of the time just in case there is a rare >major outage simply to pander to their need for "support" (which usually >means just telling them that the problem is being worked on)? No, a prerecorded message that people can call in is just fine. BUT, this works only if the message actually answers the customer's question. "We have outages in X, Y, and Z which were caused by a backhoe incident in W, and we expect to have service restored in some areas by N o'clock and all service restored my M o'clock" answers most questions. But in order for this to work, first of all the company has to get the information about what is going on to the call center, and get the message up on the call center system, AND they have to get customers to the point where they actually trust the message. To do that requires a few years of presenting accurate information. People will ONLY call through to an actual person if they think there is more information that they aren't getting, or if they don't believe the information being given. However, with a company like Comcast, it's likely that is 100% of the callers. THAT is the problem that needs to be fixed. --scott -- "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis." ------------------------------ Message-ID: <bd793a29-e888-4db0-8492-b08932da1854@googlegroups.com> Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2016 15:01:47 -0800 (PST) From: HAncock4 <withheld@invalid.telecom-digest.org> Subject: Re: Comcast outages anger thousands across US On Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 6:09:27 PM UTC-5, David Clayton wrote: > Do people actually realise that companies will not ever have heaps of > people sitting around 99.9% of the time just in case there is a rare > major outage simply to pander to their need for "support" (which usually > means just telling them that the problem is being worked on)? In my opinion... I don't think it would require "heaps of people sitting around" to maintain greater reliability, just better monitoring centers, and a bit more redundancy. Also, there are routine maintenance needs that staff could work on and be reassigned to deal with an emergency. Often critical employees are on-call in case of rare emergency. There is also the issue of strengthening the infrastructure to prevent outages in the first place. Would it bankrupt Verizon to provide eight hour batteries instead of four-hour to its FIOS installations, so customers can keep phone service during power outages? AFAIK, Comcast did not disclose the specific cause of the outage. Since it is a public service with monopoly or near monopoly status, I think more information should be available to the public. ("Sunshine being the best disinfectant".) In the case of the old Bell System, they did manage to generally provide a high reliability of service, even in electro-mechanical days. In the case of Verizon's many long term outages, it wasn't an issue of having standby staff, but rather the company's refusal to fix a problem. For example, a neighborhood in Philadelphia lost landline service. Verizon claimed it couldn't get a permit to dig up the street for repairs, which was nonsense. As recent posts here illustrated, Verizon responded to problems by merely sending town officials a nasty letter. That behavior and disrespect should not be tolerated. Aggressive cost cutting was a factor in the old Bell Systems service troubles in New York City in the 1970s. > I suppose if people are willing to pay 3 or 4 times what they pay > now for this luxury then it could happen, but I doubt that they will > take that option. The Philadelphia Electric Company got flack for a slow response time storm damage repair. Part of the criticism was that they had ceased pruning back trees near suburban power lines, allowing broken trees to more likely take down a power line, which happened in the last storm. The public said it was willing to pay more for better service reliability. Rates went up only slightly, certainly not "3 or 4 times", and tree trimming was resumed. In the last major storm, there were very few outages. Unfortunately, part of the lack of reliability has come from very aggressive cost cutting by the carriers. Both Verizon and Comcast have closed local facilities in favor of centralized centers, which aren't as responsive to local needs. (CSX railroad had problems due to centralizing all of its far flung operations to Jacksonville). Verizon seeks to eliminate all remaining Bell System legacy personnel, which is probably a bad idea given their talent and experience. I had regular dealings with my local cable company prior to Comcast buying it up. There's a world of difference between what they provided and what Comcast provided. Despite officially low inflation and the improvements of technology, Comcast requires rate increases every year. The Philadelphia Inquirer routinely reports that Comcast has record profits. I dare say some of that money could be used to improve service reliability. http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150724_NBCUniversal__Internet_boost_Comcast_profit.html As we know, there have been reports of widespread customer dissatisfaction. I can't speak for others, but personally I buy only what I absolutely have to (monopoly or oligopoly offering) from these carriers. Unfortunately, for me, my choices are between Verizon and Comcast. ------------------------------ Message-ID: <na3i0d$7q8$1@blue-new.rahul.net> Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2016 20:41:19 -0800 From: John David Galt <jdg@diogenes.sacramento.ca.us> Subject: Re: Comcast outages anger thousands across US >> On Mon, 15 Feb 2016 22:22:16 -0500, Bill Horne quoted Jackie Wattles: >>> Comcast service outages sent social media ablaze with complaints from >>> areas all across the country. >>> >>> The TV and Internet provider's customer service account, @comcastcares, >>> was responding to an onslaught of unhappy customers on Monday. >>> >>> "[G]et more employees and offer same day help when there's a problem. >>> It's 2016, we aren't sending snail mail for help," one Twitter user >>> wrote. >>> http://money.cnn.com/2016/02/15/news/companies/comcast-service-outage/index.html > David Clayton <dc33box-cdt@yahoo.com.au> writes: >> Do people actually realise that companies will not ever have heaps of >> people sitting around 99.9% of the time just in case there is a rare >> major outage simply to pander to their need for "support" (which usually >> means just telling them that the problem is being worked on)? On 2016-02-16 21:42, Doug McIntyre wrote: > They could easily contract out for reserve call-center workers to be > enabled and brought online for a major outage, if anything just to > admit there are major issues, and take a message to pass along. > > There are call-centers who hotel for many different companies already > that could absorb some of the load. But this takes planning, > contracts, and still paying for some sort of outsourcing service. I don't want my phone company spending (and charging me) big bucks just to operate (or pay for, even temporarily) a call center to baby people. Simply putting up a web page saying we know there's an outage (using a backup data center if necessary) should satisfy most people, and all companies should already be easily capable of doing it. One step up from that would be a web site that allows users to open trouble tickets for themselves, thus giving the company detailed, searchable information about each affected customer (and giving the end-user a confirmation number, which lets them prove later that they reported the issue) without requiring a human to answer each call. In the customer's seat I would appreciate such a system because it frees as many of the company's technical personnel as possible to get busy fixing the actual bug ASAP. Which is what I want them to be doing. My neighborhood ISP has had this working for decades now, so I refuse to believe Verizon or AT&T is incapable of it. Of course this isn't workable with a POTS line as the input device. But it makes loads of sense in any situation where the customers have the ability to send either e-mail or text messages. ********************************************* End of telecom Digest Fri, 19 Feb 2016

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