Date: 23 Feb 2019 03:03:35 -0800
From: "Michael" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Loyalty discount? Don't bet on it.
Last year, after more than 45 years with Verizon, they offered us a
"loyalty discount" not to switch to Comcast. We took it and saved
$15/month on our internet/landline (no tv) fios service. We ended up
paying just under $70/month. After 1 year, they dropped the discount.
We called in November, they apologized for the error, and agreed to
apply the discount for another year. December- it was gone,
We called again. Same story. January again..same story. Yesterday I
called. I finally got an agent who "put me on hold." Then
disconnected. BUT, NOT ONLY DISCONNECTED, my modem red light goes on-
no internet, no land line. On and off for 10 minutes. Finally I get
dialtone and call a second time. This time I went through the menus
and again a disconnect and no service.
Third time- I reach an agent and get disconnected in the middle of my
explanation to him. Amazingly he calls me back when service is
restored. Puts me on hold and explains that they no longer offer this
discount and they just "gave it to me" in November, December, and
January. I would no longer be getting a "loyalty discount". Then he
tries to sell me the "tv package" which they did on the first 3 calls.
He couldn't understand why I'm happy with my antenna system, and don't
want to spend another $25, but rather save $15/month. We'll see what
next month's bill brings. BTW, after I hung up with him, again a
service outage. Just coincidence?
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2019 19:45:50 +0000
From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net>
Subject: 'Let's Connect' seeks better broadband for rural NC
BY Katie Kienbaum
North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, but
it lags behind its peers in one key metric - broadband.
While North Carolina struggles to connect its small towns and rural
communities, most of North Dakota is already blanketed with high
quality broadband networks. Thanks to the state's utility
cooperatives, which have invested heavily in improving local
connectivity, a family in rural North Dakota almost certainly has
better Internet access than a household in any one of North Carolina's
(Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)
Date: 23 Feb 2019 12:18:38 -0500
From: "Fred Goldstein" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Debt Pressures Nudge Rural Phone Companies Closer to
On 2/21/2019 4:57 PM, HAncock4 wrote:
> On Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 9:18:35 AM UTC-5, Bill Horne wrote:
>> Rural telephone companies have tried to embrace the future by offering
>> cloud services, bulking up on fiber and pushing broadband, but their
>> landline businesses and huge debt loads are keeping them stuck in the
> Nothing new. The independent telephone companies suffered from
> low capitalization and high costs back in the 1950s. They had
> trouble upgrading their plants to reduce party lines and convert
> to dial.
> Even in the 1970s, General Telephone, the biggest independent,
> had trouble _upgrading_ to _only_ four-party service in the 1970s.
> The following article shows the progress GTE made in upgrades in
> 1971. But by 1971, that level of service (four party lines) was
> not that great.
The rules have changed completely since then, creating new problems
for some but not all rural carriers.
Pre-1992, essentially all LECs were regulated on rate of return,
meaning that they got a nearly-guaranteed profit level based on their
rate base (undepreciated capital plant). The more they invested, the
more profit. Rural carriers essentially got subsidies via the long
distance access charge regime, starting in 1984, wherein they got x
cents/minute for interstate calls to and from their turf, the x being
based on whatever it took to make their rate of return, and often
higher than the retail price of the toll call.
Post-1992, large carriers were moved to price caps, wherein their
prices were capped at a given level (with adjustments annually) but
their profits weren't. This was done both at the federal level and in
most states. Since then many "price cap carrier" price caps have been
removed. The Bells in particular responded to this, ca. 1993, with
massive layoffs and a reduction in investment, since now they were
aiming for quarterly profits, not long-term rate bases. Small rural
telcos, however, remained on rate of return regulation, and thus
entitled to their profits.
In 1996, the long distance-based funding mechanism was partially (by
now almost totally) replaced with explicit Universal Service Fund
money (now funded by a ~20% tax on interstate telecommunications
services). This mostly went to small rate-of-return carriers. Thus the
Bells were making money in urban areas but losing money in rural
areas, with no incentive to invest in rural areas. And it
shows. Medium-sized carriers like Windstream, however, were encouraged
to move from rate of return to price caps, mostly to reduce their draw
on USF. And holding companies with both rate of return and price cap
subsidiaries, like CenturyLink, were put entirely under price cap. So
now USF mostly goes to small coops, some small investor-owned rural
ILECs, and the remaining few rural mom'n'pops. But most of the money
is now going to Connect America Fund, which has its own rules.
So Windstream, as a price cap carrier with mostly rural holdings, is
stuck. They don't get the subsidies small RLECs get, and don't have
the profitable urban turf large ones get. Windstream itself is now
about half CLEC and half ILEC, with various holdings (like the former
Earthlink and Paetec CLECs) in Bell turf, but they don't make a lot
Basically the system was jiggered in 1992 to allow Wall Street to get
short-term profits at the expense of long-term investment, and the
chickens came home to roost.
Fred R. Goldstein k1io fred "at" ionary.com
End of telecom Digest Sun, 24 Feb 2019