Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2018 20:29:10 -0400
From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net>
Subject: Reining in UN's little known International
BY Michael O'Rielly, Opinion Contributor
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a relatively obscure
but important appendage of the United Nations, is troubled. ITU faces
several significant problems that keep it from excelling at its
primary, but not sole, responsibility: global radio spectrum
So what can be done to correct course and allow the organization to
remain viable for the future?
(Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)
Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2018 15:08:47 -0400
From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net>
Subject: I'm looking for information about "Fight For The Future"
I've been getting emails from an organization called "Fight For The
Future," for a while now, and I'd like to know if anyone reading this
knows who funds them and what their agenda is.
FFTF appears to be trying to prevent the FCC rule change which revokes
Net Neutrality from taking effect. Their arguments, although
hyperbolic, appear well-intentioned, but out of an abundance of
caution, I'd like to know who their backers are.
The latest email I got is at <http://telecom-digest.org/fftf.html>.
Thanks for your help!
Date: 6 Aug 2018 20:16:49 -0400
From: "Eric Tappert" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Backup Power for COs
Folks, some history on backup power seems to be in order here.
Originally telephones had internal batteries, either Dry Cells or Lead
Acid batteries. The later gave rise to the phase "high and dry" as
these sets also had an on/off switch ("high" was on, "low" was off)
and the lead acid battery was either good ("wet") or discharged
("dry"). Thus if you were "high and dry" your phone was on with a
dead battery. Sort of like being up the creek without a paddle.... As
you can imagine, service calls to replace the batteries were very
common, especially since folks often forgot to turn off the switch (a
problem fixed with the "hook switch", which also saved receiver cords
by giving a convenient place to store the receiver...). The CO common
battery was introduced as a cost reduction, saving lots of expensive
service calls. As some (many?) customers didn't have electrical power
yet, there was no real thought given to having the phone work in the
case of a power failure. The transition saved the Bell System over a
million dollars the first year (1893).
When automation hit (Strowger's switch), the switch used electro-
magnetic relays that worked great on the 48 volt battery, so the
that's where the switch got its power. The same power scheme was
followed for panel and crossbar switches. I would note that the Bell
System didn't automate until the 1920's when their projection of the
need for operators exceeded the birth rate of women (men weren't
polite enough to be operators in those days...). Ma Bell did buy
Automatic Electric Strowger switches for two or three decades even
though Western Electric was also making them on a patent license.
Over the years the Bell System standard for CO battery power converged
to 8 hours of battery backup, a generator to back up the batteries
with 24 hours of fuel in the day tank and a week's worth of fuel on
site. Typically the basement of a CO building only held the cable
vault and lots of batteries and rectifiers. Fast forward to subscriber
loop carrier and subscriber loop multiplexers. These became common
during the suburban building boom as a way to minimized the expense of
additional CO buildings. Each cabinet contained a battery power
supply, typically 2 - 24 hours depending on available standard battery
sizes and the capacity of the unit and, since the loops were shorter,
24 volts instead of 48 (PBXs with battery backup also use 24 volt
Electronics came to the rescue with electronic switching. The early ESS
systems used 48 volt battery plants, but with development of low cost
DC-DC converters, plants of 130 - 140 volts(1) became common as the
higher voltage reduced wiring costs and improved efficiency. The same
8 hour battery supply and backup generator standard remained.
Cell phones came along and the power plant for cell sites looked a lot
like the subscriber loop carrier/multiplexer. That was changed after
hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath, cellular telephones in the
disaster area ceased working, even if the cell site was undamaged,
when the batteries discharged. Since first responders had started to
depend on cellular communications, the issue was escalated. The FCC
took action (which was vigorously opposed by all the telephone
companies...) and passed a regulation that required 24 hours of backup
power (not necessarily batteries...) at COs and 8 hours at remote
sites (SLC/SLM, cell sites, etc.). The deadline for implementation was
2008. I've heard that Verizon added a propane tank and backup
generator at their cell sites to supplement the batteries that already
AFAIK, fiber systems have minimal battery backup at the customer's
location, although any telco equipment in the path back to the CO
needs to adhere to the FCC rules. Interesting enough, battery backup
for PBXs was always optional and rarely ordered. Where it was not
installed, a loop start phone was used to provide service in the event
of a local power failure, that is if anybody remembered which closet
it was in....
In any event, that's how we got here... I might add that non-tariff
services (like DSL) don't require backup power. In fact, I've observed
my DSL going down in power failures affecting the CO (the phone still
***** Moderator's Note *****
1. The 130 volt plant was originally used for coin telephone control:
negative 130 was "coin return" and positive 130 was "coin collect."
There were separate batteries for it in the power room at most
The original "D1" bank used for the first T-Carrier installations had
DC-to-DC power supplies for the repeaters in the manholes. In later
years, the 130 volt battery plant was also use to power the repeaters,
which required either a single 130 volt supply, or both positive and
negative voltages, depending on the lengths of the spans.
Date: 8 Aug 2018 08:10:42 -0700
From: "Fred Atkinson, WB4AEJ" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Backup Power for Cox [or other] ISP [Telecom]
> The 1960s and 1970s were tough time for both Bell and the independents.
> Below is a link to a discussion from January about payphone vandalism:
> IMHO, the excessive time and money phone companies had to spend to
> repairing vandalism to its infrastructure and security (like two-man
> crews) contributed to the service crises of the 1970s.
When my father opened his Tennis club in the seventies, he set up a
trailer behind the house for use as a pro shop.
The phone company ran a five pair cable across the yard to the trailer
from the house to install his business line in the trailer.
He later built a fence enclosing the area between the house and the
trailer. He let our family german shepherd (Heidi) run loose inside
Several months later, the phone in the trailer stopped working. After
trying another phone set in the trailer that also didn't work, he
called the phone company.
The repairman came out and determined that our german shepherd had dug
up the five pair cable and then pulled it loose. He connected it back
up and buried the cable with a shovel that I loaned him.
I stood there as he called it in and told the repair agent that the
dog had dug up the cable. After a few moments, he said, "Well, the
dog didn't know what she was doing!".
When I asked him about that, he told me he was asked if it was malicious.
I broke up laughing!
Brilliant question, don't you think?
Date: 10 Aug 2018 01:53:35 -0400
From: "Bob Goudreau" <BobGoudreau@nc.rr.com>
Subject: How many people in the NANP live in places that still have
The recent debate about splits vs. overlays has made we wonder what
proportion of people in each NANP country live in places that still
allow local calls to be dialed without specifying an area
code. Resources such as http://www.lincmad.com/areacodemap.html
provide wonderful ways to see where non-overlay NPAs are located, but
does anyone have population figures broken down on an NPA-by-NPA
Actually, we do know the answer for most NPA countries: Jamaica and
the Dominican Republic are both completely overlaid, so presumably 100
percent of their populations must dial with 10D or 1+10D. Conversely,
none of the remaining island members of the NANP have more than one
NPA each, so they probably all still support 7D dialing. Canada is now
almost completely overlaid. As far as I can see, the only remaining
Canadian NPAs without a current or planned overlay are 807 in
northwestern Ontario and 867 spanning the three territories. Both of
those regions are sparsely populated, so close to 100 percent of
Canadians will live in non-7D areas by 2024 (by which time the
overlays planned for NPAs 506 and 709 will be active).
The leaves the US. There are plenty of overlays, but also lots of
remaining singleton area codes. There is no obvious pattern: some very
populous cities (e.g., Detroit and Jacksonville) remain un-overlaid,
along with predominantly rural or tiny single-NPA states such as
Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Montana, both Dakotas, Delaware, Rhode
Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Conversely, although most
major metropolitan areas now have overlays, there are also plenty of
rural overlay examples, such as western Kentucky, northern Wisconsin
and the entire states of Idaho and West Virginia. The driving factor
is when an older NPA happened to require relief; no geographic splits
have occurred in the past decade, meaning that all relief NPAs
introduced since then have been overlays. In the decade or so prior to
the last geographic split (575 splitting from New Mexico's 505 in
2007), many new area codes were introduced, and different state
preferences dictated which form of relief (split or overlay) was
used. For instance, California's PUC was slower to embrace overlays
than many other states, which is why there are still so many singleton
NPAs (some of them geographically quite tiny) in the Golden State.
So can anyone hazard an estimate about what fraction of the US
population still has the ability to dial 7D calls?
Cary, NC (in the 919/984 overlay)
End of telecom Digest Sun, 12 Aug 2018