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Tauzin-Dingell Up for Vote Soon 346

Posted by michael
from the congress-is-in-town dept.
An Anonymous Coward writes: "Just received this letter from my ISP, one of the oldest in existence. A study here lays out the basics on the bill and why it's a bad idea. The bill retracts the telecommunications act of '96 which forces the phone giants to share the nation's phone lines (which are in public trust). Looks like it's time to write those pesky congressmen again." Too late to write. Call. Tauzin-Dingell, up for vote on Wednesday, would eliminate all the requirements on the four remaining Baby Bells to play fair with competing telecom providers. "Sure Covad, you can co-locate your DSL equipment in our switching offices - our deregulated rate is only $10,000/day/piece of equipment." It's instant death for all DSL providers except Verizon, SBC, Qwest and BellSouth.
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Tauzin-Dingell Up for Vote Soon

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    How does this affect Canadians? Is there anything we can do to help this situation?

    • Just because one news item doesn't affect every person on the face of the globe, does not make it completely irrelevant. By your logic, news of a natural disaster in Africa shouldn't make the news because not everyone is affected.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      First, you must become the 51st state. Then you must begin drilling for more maple syrup and build the greatest pipeline in the universe to deliver the maple syrup to our doorstep (the lower 48) so that we no longer have to buy syrup for our oversized, syrup-guzzling waffles from the terrorists and their supporters in the Middle East. Finally, outlaw French as a language. Once this is done, then, um, what was the question?
      • First, you must become the 51st state.

        Canada is a bit big for one state (it actually has more area than the US). Canada is already divided into 13 provinces, but the population is rather sparse. We might have to consolidate some of them.

        -
      • SPEAKING of Osama Bin Laden effects and the general unrest it is causing to all americans listen to this:

        I'm gong to Canada for fishing in the summer and (apparently) they got it into their crazy ice-clogged heads that I need to have a passport. I mean, wtf. Stupid bin laden giving the canadians a reason to pretend like they ain't a state.'

        P.S.
        Sarcasm. No Offense. =)

    • Here's the deal. You guys send over Sale and Pelletier, we'll send in Brian Boitano, and together they'll all kick some major ass and get this thing sorted out. Sound good?
  • by glrotate (300695) on Monday February 25, 2002 @11:43PM (#3068723) Homepage
    The telecom dereg act of '96 WAS a flop. Has anyones phone / cable bill actually gone down since then. It was supposed to open up Long distance to the Baby Bells IF they opened up local access. SBC was very much in favor, then as soon as it was passed they gota judge to through out the part that required them to open up the local access.

    So, maybe it is time to look at redoing this piece of legislation.

    • It was supposed to open up Long distance to the Baby Bells IF they opened up local access.

      But why would they want to give up a monopoly on selling 30-mile connections at 20 cents/minute for an opportunity to sell 2000-mile connections at 6 cents/minute? It's no wonder they never bothered to act.

      • Why (Score:3, Informative)

        But why would they want to give up a monopoly on selling 30-mile connections at 20 cents/minute for an opportunity to sell 2000-mile connections at 6 cents/minute?

        Because at the time the big price war on long distance hadn't started yet. Most of the profit was in the long distance service - which they were locked out of - and they were stuck with the low-profit local infrastructure monopoly.

        So it seemed like a good trade at the time.
    • If you want deregulation, then deregulate. That means... drum roll... no regulations. No guaranteed local monopoly, no "requirements", no conditional competition.

      Making a bunch of new regulations and calling them deregulation is what got California into its electricity mess.
  • News Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b.foster (543648) on Monday February 25, 2002 @11:46PM (#3068735)
    Third-party DSL providers are already dead. Can you name one who's made a profit for one single quarter? I'll give you a hint: it's not one of these losers:
    • Covad (fucked from the get-go, but they blame Verizon)
    • Northpoint (RIP)
    • "DirecTV DSL" (they are taking *huge* losses, just like the rest of Hughes)
    • Tung Communications (who?)
    DSL service is an economy of scale, and carving it up amongst a dozen competitors in the same small geographical area will ensure that they will all sell at a loss and die. It's simple Economics 101.

    Bill

    • Re:News Flash (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ender81b (520454) <billd@inebraskNETBSDa.com minus bsd> on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:02AM (#3068796) Homepage Journal
      Sure, alot of ISP's still survive. Internet Nebraska [inetnebr.com] in Nebraska has survived for nearly 10 years and provided service across nearly the entire state including DSL and in the face of stiff competition (Alltell, Road Runner, Cox Cable). As a matter of fact they are even rolling out Wireless in some parts of the state.

      Of course, they have a different attitude than most ISP's - they don't have the latest and greatest in tech. As a matter of fact the tech desk machines are old Sparc stations (30mhz I believe) and most of their equipment is bought off E-bay. Doesn't make a difference; their uptimes and such are excellent, and they are the largest ISP in Nebraska - and no I don't work for them.

      The problem with most of the ISP's you listed is that they expanded too fast, and spent too much buying the latest and greatest equipment with no thought of if they where going to be able to recoup the costs.
      • A few survive out in my neck of the woods by reselling PacBell's DSL. i.e. Covad and Cruzio.

        On another note, Riordan, Mayor of L.A. and running for Govenor of Ca. has made noises about considering internet sales tax (Ca. state sales tax is already about 8.25%) Regardless of your leanings, there's something to think about. Typically California has been a trend setting state, probably due to the large % of USA population found here, about 33 million people.

        Unrelated, but pretty cool, so far, I've caught an eBay thief, just days after lamenting my being taken... read my journal about it. [slashdot.org]

    • Re:News Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wintersmute (557244) <Isaacwinter&hotmail,com> on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:03AM (#3068803) Homepage
      Let me weigh in on Economics 101. This fictitious argument that a "dozen competitors in the same small geographical area" will all "sell at a loss and die" may be the case.

      You know what I say? Great! That may be, and then went the industry converges on a few major DSL players, we'll know that natural oligopoly is the status quo for the DSL industry. And every time someone pulls out the antitrust argument, you can say 'we tried that'.

      Or you can simply declare that competition won't work, and dictate that the network owners get to do whatever they damn please. Oh, and because they're earning super-competitive profits, they'll branch out to provide DSL to rural communities where its not profitable to do so.

      Long pause. [Insert "huh?" here.] Not profitable?!? If any mechanism is going to get rural broadband off the drawing board, it will be market pressure, not a oligopoly of telecom companies earning supercompetitive profits on what amounts to a state-granted monopoly.

      The economies-of-scale argument is irrelevant. Because the network already exists, the CLECs plugged into the Bell networks have already made the scale investments. It's there to be taken by anyone, given that they have open access to the essential facilities.

      The real question is whether you want to allow the Bells to have to fight off competition with superior service, or whether you want to assume that competition will ultimate tank, and just do away with that whole "free market" thing. Because we all know that's a crock, right?

      Indie DSL providers may all go belly up, but we owe it to ourselves to figure out whether that's going to happen. Tauzin-Dingell is corporate rent-seeking, plain and simple.

      • Re:News Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MADCOWbeserk (515545)
        Economics 101 is just an intro course, to apply your most basic "survival of the fittest" approach to this grossly oversimplifies this. Telephone service is what is called a "public good" or a good provided using public land to run wires built with a huge government subsidy. The government (FCC) has responsibility to ensure that these companies provide greater benefit than the sum of the public resources they use. This is the social contract between the companies and society. Hence these companies don't operate under the normal competitive model. Rather than maximize profits, telephone companies should (in an idealized world if they abide by the contract) provide the most service they can for the most people. Hence, these companies need to be carefully watched to see that they don't unreasonably profit at society's expense. I don't mean to take sides, but I'm an economics grad student and I hate to see economics misrepresented.
        • Here's a novel idea - don't know if it's been tried before though. Nationalise the network and split the service delivery arm into a private company. Then, the network (which is the public good) can be run by the government, alongside all social contracts, and anyone can compete in offering telecom services at an equivalent base cost (eliminating the metro / regional cost differential, as the govt is paying for it). The key is recognising that the market (a large scale network) is a natural monopoly.

          Of course you've got the whole impact that nationalising extremely large private resources would have on business confidence, but hey - that's sovreign risk, isn't it? ;) Seriously though, I wonder if it would fly. Any ideas on the viability of it or if it's been tried elsewhere in other industries?


          • Here's a novel idea - don't know if it's been tried before though. Nationalise the network and split the service delivery arm into a private company. Then, the network (which is the public good) can be run by the government, alongside all social contracts, and anyone can compete in offering telecom services at an equivalent base cost (eliminating the metro / regional cost differential, as the govt is paying for it). The key is recognising that the market (a large scale network) is a natural monopoly.

            Some of the more sensible talking heads were advocating this when the government started to privatise Australia's national carrier, Telstra. (Australia is a country very suited to this approach -- a large amount of infrastructure is needed to service lower densities of people than in other areas of the world, and all this infrastructure was built with public money).

            Unfortunately, it didn't happen, the company is now 49% stock market traded & 51% government owned (a state of affairs which pleases no-one) and they are still gouging people with their effective monopoly status.

            If it had been made clear that the government wished to retain the network before the sale then no-one could have complained, as it wouldn't have been a nationalisation as such... oh well.
      • Re:News Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

        This fictitious argument that a "dozen competitors in the same small geographical area" will all "sell at a loss and die" may be the case.

        Which reminds me of the quote I read on a Slashdot book review about the dot-bombs recently:

        "In perfect competition, all products are sold at cost, and there is no profit."

        Hmmm, I wonder if we're on to something here. Sell the service at too high a cost, nobody will buy it (Bell). Sell it too low, and you'll get plenty of customers, but go bankrupt because you're not profiting (Covad).

        So to be successful, you either have to have 1)collusion to price-fix amongst all competitors, setting minimum pricing just above break-even, or 2)start selling at a loss, then find a way to profit either by raising prices and keeping customers through brand-reputation and good service, or by selling "auxilliary services/merchandise" that are more profitable.

        Aside: It looks like Amazon.com did both (raised prices somewhat, stopped handing out $20 gift certificates with every $10 purchase, partnered with third parties), and finally turned that brand-recognition into a profit, as promised. Amazing.

        I don't really have a point I guess... just rambling as usual. "But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong." (Dennis Miller)
    • No it isnt (Score:3, Insightful)


      The scale benefits of providing DSL are not that great. It is nothing like making cars, for example.

      Even a small DSL provider can get the software they need to minimize administrative costs, and if bandwidth is a comodity, as it should be, that is more or less all they need.

      There are some benefits of scale in the equipment but that is not a big deal.

      Smaller ISPs may have benefits of finding a niche market or serving customers better.

      In fact before DSL thousands of smaller providers thrived selling basic dialup, and made profit, despite AOl's economy of scale.

      This is the kind of argument that is being used by corporate america to monopolize all our communication media. It was used for radio and now it is used for small ISPs.

      This argument is utter bullshit.

      But suppose it is true. Then why not let those DSL providers die naturaly? Why allow the telecom companies to lock them out? If someone is lobbying for a lock out that means they are affraid of the competition.

      • The real deal (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I am currently a network architect, working at a medium-size DSL provider and frantically looking for a job elsewhere. The venture capital is due to run out by mid-May.

        DSL providers need to buy a large amount of bandwidth (to support bursting) and oversell it to maintain a competitive edge. Since bandwidth gets cheaper as you buy more of it, many pieces of an installation (such as a DSLAM and routers) are large one-time costs that serve dozens of users, and you need a *lot* of users to be able to afford a barely minimal (T1) line, the provision of DSL service is most decidedly an economy of scale.

        Other points to look at would be: tech support and billing (textbook examples of economies of scale), and geographical risk/load balancing.

        -AC (for obvious reasons)

    • Re:News Flash (Score:2, Interesting)

      by r00tdenied (540333)

      Yes, they are all taking losses. But it is because of the telcos. I present my proof as this. I work for a DSL provider, we started selling ISDN 6 years ago, moved on to DSL because of the hype. PacBell for the last 6 months has been playing hard ball with us because of their own fucked up accounting (being double billed). But only recently have we turned profitable. How you ask? We said "Fuck DSL" and we are now providing Wireless Broadband services. Now we are screwing over the telcos in their own markets by taking their DSL customers and putting them on our own network.


      r00tdenied
  • by Enry (630) <`enry' `at' `wayga.net'> on Monday February 25, 2002 @11:46PM (#3068736) Journal
    It's not like the Telco act of '96 was of any help. The Telcos don't care and use the loopholes, DSL isn't really available everywhere, no matter what James Earl Jones says, and cable/satellite is just as inexpensive and fast.

    I have friends that worked for CLECs that put equipment in ILEC COs. Sure Verizon would let you in the building, but want to use the bathroom? Sorry, can't do that, you'll have to go somewhere else. Want to come back in? Sorry, security isn't here right now and we can't let you in....
    • I work for a company that became a CLEC a few months ago, and we are doing alright. We found a place that Qwest didn't provide to, but still had a central office. Cable providers aren't big out there, they use satellite tv. I'm not sure why they don't use satellites for internet, but meh. We put in our own gear and are providing right now. I've never been in the CO, so I can't confirm the problems. Probably the biggest pain is they have this 200 page manual you have to read to use the system and make orders for the line. If you put the wrong number in the ITQID field (don't remember exactly, but there are so many stupid acronyms), they reject it. I'm not sure what the results of the law would be exactly, but by the sounds of it, it wouldn't be good for the company.
    • If this passes, I'm out of a job. I work for probably the last major competitive CLEC in the southeast. We have over 60,000 lines in service, and something like 7,500 more added in the month of January; we are cash-positive; and we have a business plan that is working better than we ever hoped. We've spent the last year busting our asses to get our service levels to world class levels, and we lead the industry in many areas. A lot of folks put in a lot of time and effort into making this thing work.

      When 2001 hit, we had layoffs. Now this. It's really sad and frustrating that we have to go through this kind of anxiety every year.

      So yes this is a problem. It's a very big problem. Just maybe not for you.
    • With all due respect to your friends, I really couldn't care less how they're treated by Verizon, as long as they're in business.

      What's important to me, the consumer, is that I have a choice in who I get my DSL service from. I don't care if it was a pain in the ass for my ISP to get set up in the local telco, all I care about is that they got set up, and they can give me service. That's what's critical. I'm not interested in paying for DSL service from the only game in town, I want a selection. Right now, I've got it. So yes, the Telco act of '96 did help, and it must not be allowed to be tossed aside.
    • by Sarcasmooo! (267601) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @02:07AM (#3069119)
      I find it hard to believe that retracting this act is going to right the wrongs it created, but I have no idea why. Simply put, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 [fcc.gov] resulted in the biggest blow to a free market in history. At least, that's my interpretation. The number of entities that control the nations media, from books, to music, to TV and movies, went from somwhere in the hundreds, to the present 6. But if retracting the act now would in any way rectify that, companies like the Bells and Verizon (who have a very hefty interest in preserving the ownership deregulations) would be up in arms protecting it.
  • by PM4RK5 (265536) on Monday February 25, 2002 @11:47PM (#3068741) Homepage
    It appears to be the norm (or at least through my experience), that when some DSL provider uses a major corporate wire, certain problems are encountered when you sign up:

    1. You may be *conveniently* too far away from the 'central office' [They make the restrictions tighter for 3rd-party service: like only up to 10,000 feet, when the real limit is several thousand feet more]

    2. The phone company is painfully slow in getting the wires required to your house (ISDN, at least)

    3. The phone company and your 3rd-party provider bicker about who's at fault when a problem appears. Nobody admits its their fault, so you (the consumer) is virtually screwed over.

    So essentially, they want you to sign up for *their* service (gee, that installation time gets a lot shorter!). So they're already monopolizing. This was the case with Rythms ISDN (spelling?) when we had it. And Rythms went bankrupt as I recall. *cough*

    Just some stuff to think about, as they alredy monopolize the wires/equipment to an extent.
    • by Rayonic (462789) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:05AM (#3068813) Homepage Journal
      Last summer I was in Chicago, staying with a relative, and I saw first-hand some of these shenannigans between AT&T and Earthlink. My relatives had chosen Earthlink DSL over the local AT&T service (probably because it was cheaper and/or faster) and the DSL connection went out every evening from about 7:00pm to 10:00pm.

      Earthlink's official response was that AT&T would purposely detect non-AT&T-DSL customers and downgrade their connection somehow. Of course I'm not sure I believe them, because the daily outages only seemed to be happening during peak hours. They probably oversold their service in the area, but how would I have known either way? Well, needless to say nothing got done (at least while I was there).
      • by SlashChick (544252) <erica@@@erica...biz> on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @03:32AM (#3069241) Homepage Journal
        I had the same problem. I actually tried to sign up for DSL from SBC (Ha! Ha!) when this occurred. The installer said that my line was right at the edge of DSL range, but that it should be okay. (The people on the other end of the radio told him not to, but he thought the line was clean, so he installed it anyway.)

        I got DSL. Everything worked fine but for a period between 10PM-1AM every night where the DSL would go out completely. Fast forward through two weeks of tech support calls ... I finally hit upon someone who could figure out the situation. (Hint: Call SBC and say you got cut off while talking to a second-level tech.) Apparently the lines here are switched to a second CO for "maintenance purposes" every night for a period of 3 hours while they reboot their routers and do God-knows-what-else. The DSL went out because I was within range of the first CO (and within the normal recommended range for DSL), but not for the secondary CO. That's why the installer had been told not to install the line even though I was within range.

        That sort of information probably "conveniently" wasn't handed to your relative's DSL provider. In fact, the idiots at SBC ("Is your modem plugged in?") couldn't even figure it out for over 2 weeks, but their installers knew.

        I'm now happy with my AT&T cable modem, which is cheaper and faster. I've also switched long distance and local toll over to Sprint's 7-cent anytime plan, which was better than what SBC offered me anyway. And once I got the NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS of charges on my account (this was for a residential DSL line that never worked!) straightened out, all was right in the world again.

        Moral of the story: SBC sucks harder than AOL and Disney combined, and AT&T has gained a good many customers from people I consult with who need broadband. ;)
        • Re,
          "... NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS...for a residential DSL line that never worked!...."

          I can beat that. They charged me several hundred dollars total for:

          - Activating DSL that I never ordered, at a location I wasn't living at during the time
          - Monthly fees for DSL that was never used because I didn't order it and didn't have the equipment
          - A couple of hundred dollars penalty for "early cancellation" of a service I never ordered in the first place and never used

          This took months to straighten out. Before DSL, I was not a cynic about the phone company. After seeing how they acted for our (ISP) customers, and with this episode on top of it, I am now very wary of them.

          Of course, you have to take into consideration that 5 or 6 years ago The Phone Company (all of them) simply had to plug along like they had for 100 years providing local and long distance and a few specialty services. Then, every consumer in the US suddenly wants a second line--and no static--and this, that, and the other. It's as if the railroad companies suddenly had to operate a spaceport with launches every 5 minutes of everybody's private spaceship.

    • I guess this is one of the benifits of living in the boondocks. My local phone co. is a coopertive. I can make 1 call to them and have DSL installed before the end of the week, most times it's only a day or two. When I have a problem the crew is out in hours if not minutes. They don't have to make money just pay bills, heck I even get a rebate check from them every year for each phone number I have. I was the first dial-up customer to logon, It was a race between a friend of mine and me. His password got mangaled so I got there first, But alas he got the IT job. :-(
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:12AM (#3068832) Journal
      4. When the ILEC goes to install a new DSL line for one of their OWN customers, and there aren't enough good pair in the cable, their installers have been known to just steal the pair from a working line. Amazingly enough, it's usually a CLEC's line.

      So the CLEC gets a trouble call. And has to debug it. And when they figure out the line's gone dead, they report it to the ILEC, which sends a lineman out to fix it. And there are STILL no spare high-quality pair in the cable. So the ILEC lineman steals ANOTHER in-use pair to replace the first stolen one. (Guess whether it's from the ILEC or a CLEC.)

      Loop forever.
      • For completion (Score:3, Informative)

        by DerFeuervogel (136891)
        ILEC-Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier

        CLEC-Competitive Local Exchange Carrier

    • 2.5. The 3rd party provider takes 4 months to finally install the DSL once the phone company has done their part (promising to come every few weeks or so, but never showing up). During that time, you still pay the phone company for the local line which isn't even wired into a jack.
  • Let's be serious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EricKrout.com (559698)
    Let's be serious, folks.

    Our government doesn't seem to give two sh*ts about monopolistic tech corporations. One word: Microsoft.

    Apparently, the cool thing now is to cut taxes while spending record amounts on making our country powerful enough to take over the entire world, and possibly the whole Milky Way (just give them time).

    I'm not sure how we as Americans can even sleep at night when we have someone with the sophistication of a 4th grader running our country (Duuuhhh-bya [yahoo.com]).

    Unfortunately, I think it's going to be "long live Verizon et al".
    • ... so everyone hope that history repeats itself!

      When's the last time something like this actually lasted?

      Or, move to Canada. Cheap, good DSL.
    • Use Your Words (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Wee (17189) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:42AM (#3068922)
      Our government doesn't seem to give two sh*ts about monopolistic tech corporations.

      Go ahead and say it: Our government doesn't give two goddam squirty shits about anything but spreading the legs of the Lady of Justice for the highest fucking bidder.

      And no, I'm not sorry for the swearing. Let's not be afraid to say what we mean. We have to quit couching our words in trivial obfuscations so we don't offend the perpetually victimized. It won't be long before the rearward penetration reaches our mouths and we are all forced to speak up. But by then it will be too late. Oh well. We're all doomed to whatever fate the AOL/TW's of the world wish for us anyway.

      I was just going to moderate the parent comment up, but decided to speak my peace instead. Sometimes I hate America. Its dim-bulb of a leader doesn't help.

      -B

  • down with bellsouth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWolenczak (10527) <julia@evilcow.org> on Monday February 25, 2002 @11:56PM (#3068776) Homepage Journal
    Yup, this will wipe out DSL providers, but what about CLECs? I sure like my local CLECs.... I mean.... bellsouth wouldnt know what sdsl is if it bit them in the ass. They don't want to do cheap business internet... they only want to provide the most costly service... and the crappiest response time... sure... lock the end of my t1 loop up in a box... and if the mux dies... take six hours to come reset my damn card so I can get my internet back up.

    Several observations by myself
    1. They only know what ADSL is... they their reps dont even know what the A stands for. They tend to think the S in sdsl stands for static.
    2. They took five and a half hours once to get my t1 loop back up after their mux died a horibble death. They claim that they didnt know about it untill like an hour and a half before they showd up, but i was on the phone to my CLEC with in 10 minutes of my loop going down, and they put me on hold while they called bell south.
    3. They only want money, not to provide service. They have become like the cable company. Sprint local services is esp. bad at this, they just expect to sit around and collect cash, and not raise a finger whenever soemthing breaks on their network.
    4. They make it hard for anybody to compeate, and they like to get rid of "old" "useless services" that are still used, and are very useful. Bell south in a near bye town is refusing to put more alarm circuits in (a line thats easy to turn into a poor man's t1 or sdsl line, and instead telling people that their circuit will be cut off unless they replace it with some expensive digital alarm circuit.

    my 1.02 cents
    -LW
  • The bill isn't going to kill the DSL providers. They're already dead. They were killed because the telcos wanted them to die. The letter of the law says that other companies (Covad) have to have access, but it doesn't say anything about the phone companies making life easy for the DSL companies. That's the real problem - the two were never on an equal footing. This bill won't help that at all, but it's not the end of the world either.
  • It seems like thing were better back in the day when they weren't regulated. Sure it was a monopoly.. but the better rates and such they promised when breaking them up never were realized.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    here is the letter i wrote to my congressman:
    I am writing to you in response to HR1542. This bill removes the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and allows the major phone companies (in our area, BellSouth) to stop ALL competition in the broadband internet market. In my area, in rural Alabama, it is importaint for me to get broadband. Currently it is not available, but with the competition that Charter Communications, Covad, Inc., Earthlink Communications, and others puts on Bellsouth, it is more and more likely that it will become available. I hope that you do not vote or support this bill that will harm your rural constituents and help big corporations from other states. I am a new voter, and I plan to be very active in politics as I go through college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and while I am a member of the community in Bibb County. My grandfather is a county commissioner in Bibb County, so I am very interested and exposed to the political system in the state. I appreciate your support, and hope that you will do what is right for your rural consituents in Alabama, and not what is good for the multinational corporations from Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles.
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:01AM (#3068793) Homepage
    DSL is a kludge, in George Gilder's words "the equivalent of the Pony Express engineering winged horses". It's time to build new fiber-to-the-home nets. Some thoughts on that:

    1) Use these [ktinet.com] in the homes, assuming folks still want to use their 100BaseT copper gear.
    2) One could let existing ISPs plug into the "local" net to provide "long distance" Internet service, as well as the usual email/Usenet/personal web pages and customer support. Someone like Earthlink might go for that?
    2b) Or just buy the usual backbone feed from the usual suspects.
    3) Free peering for local traffic with any networks you can run a cable to, like your local university.
    4) Any recommendations for switches and core routers? Ought to be able to turn individual ports on and off from remote.
    5) High density developments, like the condo complex I live in, seem like a good place to start. I just don't know how to run the cable with minimum mess. Anyhow, start with the easy targets to build a solid customer base, then let the neighbors beg for network extensions.

    Works in theory. If I ever finish reading the obligatory O'Reilly book [oreilly.com] maybe I'll take a shot at it, but I'd rather a real network engineer did the work. I'm getting tired of waiting, though. It's not like the existing telcos are going to get a clue. 100Mbps fiber-to-the-home with 1Gbps backbone (upgrading to 10Gbps when the gear is ready and semi-economical) seems very doable, just a lot of grunt work.

    Also seems like IP multicast would be a neat distribution means for 20Mbps HDTV datastreams, but that can wait.
    • It's time to build new fiber-to-the-home nets...

      With all due respect, have you ever worked with fiber? Had to buy it, run it and install it?

      The cost of wiring is still significantly higher than copper twisted-pair. While you show a possible solution, hardware with fiber connectors is still much much more costly than that $79 firewall/router/4-port 100bT switch you can buy at BestBuy.

      Running fiber and installing it is also a pain in the butt. Yes you get superior technology with superior bandwidth that scales who-knows-how-far, but while every house already has copper that will run DSL (and most have cable to support cable modems), NOBODY has fiber from the CO to their desks. The CO MIGHT be willing to pay a premium to rebuild their CO data installations with fiber-only equipment, but don't count on it.

      So you want to get it there? Not only is the cable more expensive; the tools are more expensive, it is far less accepting of splices than copper, you have a very restrictive bend radius... And if anybody comes along with a backhoe (underground fiber) or a big storm comes through (aerial fiber), you're screwed. Kick the cable out of the wall, buy a new patch cable. And warning, Best Buy does not stock multiple lengths of ST or SC fiber patch cables like they do RJ-45 twisted-pair.

      It's the same reason we don't all have alternative-fuel vehicles yet... who's going to replace all the gas stations, or augment them with alternative refueling stops? And why pay $25,000 for an economy car when you can get a big dead-dinosaur-exploiting Frod Exploder for the same price?

      If you can get Gigabit Ethernet LANs and 10 Megabit WANS with Copper today, what's the incentive for fiber? Nobody's going to do it until we're doing MPEG-4 video-on-demand to the set-top box.
  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pirodude (54707) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:01AM (#3068795) Homepage
    Ok, this pisses me off. Now that I've turned 18, what's the process for getting in touch with the people who can shoot this down? Where do I find out their info? What should I say?
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Informative)

      by alexjp (43728) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:15AM (#3068836)

      Visit the U.S. House representative list [house.gov]. Find your representative, and call. When I call, I usally do the following:

      • Say my name, and what city I live in.
      • Ask how Representative So-And-So plans to vote on the bill in question.
      • If the person you're speaking to indicates that your rep is voting for the position you agree with, say "Great - that's what I was hoping".
      • If you're told that your rep is voting the other way, say that you would urge them to support (or vote against, in this case) the bill in question, and give a sentence or two explaining why.
      • If the person you're speaking to doesn't know how your rep is going to vote, say "I'd like to urge Representative So-And-So to support (or vote against) this bill" and explain why.

      Basically, what you're trying for is to come across as a reasonable voter who has an opinion. Your call will be logged, and your rep will get a report that 5 people called today urging him (or her) to vote against a bill, and 1 person called urging him to support another bill, etc. If enough people voice disapproval of the rep's planned vote, he may investigate further. If he doesn't know much about the issue, he may just go with the suggestion of the 20 people who bothered to call.

      • being heard. (Score:5, Informative)

        by minerva_ks (558928) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @08:35AM (#3069674) Homepage
        Having interned at a Congressional office, I may be a little cynical at estimating the probablility of actually influencing a Congressman's vote by calling him/her (slim to none). But, here are some tricks I learned while I was there:
        • Before calling, read the bill (or at least the CRS summary - see below) and know if the Congressman is sponsoring the bill.
        • Staff members use Thomas [loc.gov], a database by the Congressional Research Service, to find out what the bill actually does. Pick a few specific points from the summary (H.R. 1542 summary [loc.gov]) that you have a problem with; be informative and able explain why the bill will harm the Congressman's constituents.
        • Call the DC office, not the district office. Make sure the caller id information shows an area code that is in the Congressman's district.
        • When calling, be polite and friendly. Ask to speak to the staff member that is working on the Tauzin-Dingell Broadband Deployment Act. It will probably be the staffer that works with technology or communications. Do not just start talking about the bill to whoever answers the phone, he or she is probably not the one with the answers.
        • Be short and to the point. Don't expect any direct answers to questions if the answers are likely to conflict with your opinions.
        • If your Congressman is one of the 112 co-sponsors of the bill, ask why. Politely.
        • No matter what the outcome of the call, thank the staff member for his or her time.
        CRS reports are compiled by researchers in the Library of Congress and are the main source of information for Congressional staffers. Most are available from 3rd parties; some are online. Rather dull reading, but it helps to know what information the people making the decisions are using.
    • Re:How? (Score:2, Informative)

      by gartogg (317481)
      Here [competitivebroadband.org], Here [voicesforchoices.org], or Here [voicesforchoices.org], To do something about the bill. Try all 3. It can't hurt, and might do some good. If you want to hand write a letter (they are treated very differently in Washington, ie. read by someone who matters, not JUST form letter replies like e-mails) the bill is H.R. 1542.

      Tell them it sucks. Do research and say it intelligently, but they have a monopoly SPONSORED by the state. The state therefore needs to be the ones regulating them. It's simple. Lay it out. Write a letter (by HAND!) and say these things.
    • Re:How? (Score:3, Informative)

      by enkidu (13673)
      A better place than the crappy house.gov site is this one, with easier to navigate menus, better alerts and indexing: www.congress.org [congress.org].
    • Yup. Good idea. Of course, to really be listened to you need a few million in soft money to contribute, but if we're lucky, pending legislation reduce that problem.
    • The parent post worries me. If you don't know how to hit Google and type in "House of Representatives", how can you be so sure of your position on this bill?

      I am seeing way too many kneejerk "Monopolies stink! More regulation!" posts on this story, and they remind me of the soccer moms who will vote for anyone who says "Think of the children!"

      Please at least try to see both sides of an issue before you get involved in the political arena. All the information and opinions are online for those who want to read them.
  • This is a good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ender_the_Xenocide (71196) <jcmason@uwaterloo.ca> on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:04AM (#3068807)
    ...for fixed wireless [somanetworks.com]. (No, I'm not an employee. Just a former employee.)

    DSL (and cable) suffer from the last-mile problem: getting that last bit of cable to your hourse is really, really expensive. Every service call they have to make (including turning the thing on in the first place) is a huge loss for them. Right now, smaller competitors are able to get in only because they can piggyback on the big carriers' infrastructure, but this has its own problems. For instance, Sympatico DSL here in Canada has chosen to use this awful PPP-over-Ethernet technology to share the lines. I'd prefer to use Sympatico over Rogers, cause I've mostly gotten better service, but the PPPoE is just too much hassle.

    Without having to share the lines, the big companies will be able to give better service. I know Sympatico's losing business over the PPPoE thing. Of course, without competition, there's no incentive to actually improve. But without the option of using the big networks, smaller companies will have to start looking for other solutions - like wireless, for instance. No physical cable = no last mile problem = less overhead = better business for the little guy.

    The current DSL situation is a bit of a mess, and not going to get better without a major shakeup. (I don't think it's as bad as a lot of people make out, but I may have just been lucky in my service on the whole.) Think of this as an opportunity...

    • Maybe I'm just in some space-time warp (of course, some people think that about Saskatchewan), but I have never seen a hint of PPPoE. I haven't checked with other people around here, but if I do have it (unlikely, but the modem does take 30 seconds to connect when I reset it... last time was probably over a year ago) I never see it.
    • by joshv (13017)
      For instance, Sympatico DSL here in Canada has chosen to use this awful PPP-over-Ethernet technology to share the lines. I'd prefer to use Sympatico over Rogers, cause I've mostly gotten better service, but the PPPoE is just too much hassle.

      Hmmmm... I plugged in my linksys DSL router/hub, clicked the PPPoE radio button in the web setup for the router, entered my username and password and have since forgotten about the fact that my DSL is PPPoE. Hassle? Not in the least.

    • PPPoE is just too much hassle.

      Just out of curiosity, what are some of the problems you've had with PPPoE? I've heard this before, but never experienced it myself. I used Sympatico DSL for just over a year and never had any problems (other than the two weeks of me not being able to connect it took them to figure out that they never turned on my line at their end). I used the Sympatico connection manager from win98 and Roaring Penguin PPPoE with Redhat 7.something. Other than the occasional go-to-use-the-computer-and-my-connection-has-been- dropped-by-the-provider issue, PPPoE worked flawlessly. Of course, now that I moved and ended up out of range of the CO, I had to switch to Cogeco cable, which is damn fast and so easy a monkey could set it up. Anyways, that's all...
  • "Democracy just doesn't work."
    • Troll? (Score:2, Funny)

      by tunah (530328)
      That was no troll, that was a simpsons quote (Kent brockman). I'm sorry, but if you have not seen every simpsons episode at least twice, uncheck 'willing to moderate' ;-)
  • Currently many telco's are not making much of a profit. Many of those guys like Verizon, SBC etc.. are not investing in new technology even though they are some of the more healthy telco's out there. This effort is spurred by the FCC to try to encourage regional bells to spend more money and help pull the telecom industry out of depression. Unfortunately the real problem is NOT in regional bells, it is in the wireless and other larger telco providers like AT&T. They are laden with debt and will drag down the telecom industry for the next few years. Such is the hangover of too much spending. Alan
  • by Eusebo (24544)
    I'm a current QWest customer and hate every minute of it (don't have much choice for BB service) I cringe at the thought of seeing QWest's cesspool grow any larger than it currently is. However, I think there may be a "silver lining" to this cloud (at least depending on your point of view). QWest currently concentrates their DSL equipment in the CO because they have to allow equal access to that equipment. If that equal access went away, they could move the DSL equipment further from the CO to smaller unmanned stations and extend the range of DSL services to areas where coverage isn't currently provided.

    While it might push some competition out (what competition is there anyway?) bringing broadband to outlying communities would be a plus...

    Just my $.02
  • by gbnewby (74175) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:28AM (#3068878) Homepage
    Read the bill, or at least the summary at the top. Unfortunately, the Congress might actually have our (the people's) best interests at heart. Also unfortunately, the telcos and cable company operators just aren't interested in EITHER opening to competition OR giving good service.

    What we THOUGHT was that the telecom act of 96 would level the playing field for smaller players. This hasn't happened, for reasons you see in other posts in this thread.

    What we THOUGHT was that technology would rapidly get better, yielding higher bandwidth and a greater ability to get beyond the coupla-kilometers limit. There's been progress, but basically we're still stuck with the same technology as in '96 and before.

    What we THOUGHT was that other players (power companies, wireless companies and funky stuff like blimps flying around over cities) would provoke telcos & cable companies to do better. But apart from satelite Internet (which is too slow for gaming and most other interactive use), there are not viable alternatives for most people.

    Basically, things have moved more slowly than we, the geeks, thought they would, and the cable companies and telcos have been able to have their way: little competition, top price, and little need for good service.

    There's still hope for new technologies and other developments (like municipalities' interest in WLANs) that might give hope to competition for xDSL and cable modem service for "broadband" Internet service. But it doesn't look like there's any hope that any sort of regulation will create real improvements for most users (or wannabe users) for today's "broadband" Internet services.
    • What the telecommunications bill did was create a market opportunity for ISP's.

      Let me make this simple for you: have you tried to get reverse DNS from PacBell DSL? Last I checked, you couldn't. I can with my ISP. That's because the ISP is staffed by ISP guys, while PacBell DSL is staffed by the people who flunked out of telecom training.

      Insofar as so much of the telecommunications infrastructure goes through public land, was built with public money and under the auspices of public service, I think we should treat the wires like rivers: no one has the right to block passage on a navigable river, as far as I know (I'd assume, anyway), I'd like to see that attitude extended to the wire.

    • ... and it violates some rather deep tabus in the American psyche that are as close to a State Religion as we have over here:

      Nationalize all of the local copper, indeed all of the "last mile" fibre, copper, and communicaitons infrastructure. Coax cable included.

      Treat our communications infrastructure the way we treat highways: a publicly funded transportation system that all users and providors use under the same conditions and restraints.

      That is how you foster competition among telcos, cable companies, and internet service providors ... not by giving up and granting the very perpetrators of dishonest business practices and corporate sabatage (there really is no other term for how the telcos handle third party DSL providors) an unfettered (or even fettered, I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine) monopoly.

      The telcos have deliberately sabataged their competitors and done everything legal (and illegal but "unprovable) to undermine the law and its intent. Only a completely incompetent, or corrupt, government would ever reward such behavior. Far better to nationalize their wire and make them just anothre bit player, like everyone else.

      And if they try to sabatage the infrastructure being nationalized, jail the bastards. A few years playing bitch to bubba will make even the most arrogant CEO rather compliant.
  • by puto (533470) <theflatline@yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:38AM (#3068909) Homepage
    Well this surfaces again,

    Being from the great State of Louisiana and having attended the same University of congressman Tauzin, and whose father went to the same U with him(Pop has got some funny stories about how the Senator was refused from fraternity parties and wore suits to class, all of this in the 60's).

    TO understand why Tauzin came up with this you need to know a little local history.

    Billy Tauzin came up with idea in the late 90's just when the dot com boom was at a frenzy. Internet in Louisiana was getting pretty big. I was working for a small ISP called Fastband when it happened. You might remember us, Fastband Global Cast. We were an ISP who also were one of the earlier content providers for online music broadcasting.

    Bell in Louisiana had just realized that internet was big money and our loop costs for our points of presence become outrageous, and couple this with our bandwidth costs from UUNET and Qwest it was hard to survive in the dial up game. Bell was a little late to gate into the ISP market....

    Louisiana had several large ISP's. The largest being Communique in New Orleans. Bell started offering their services, at a higher cost and lousy customer service. Not enough ISP experience. And people in my neck of the woods stick to what they know, a lotta brand loyalty. In the south we live by the motto if aint broke do not fix it.

    So, Bell realizing it could not break into the market that easily got into Tauzin's pockets. He immediately released the proposal and all ISPS in the state signed a petition much like that ISP's. All looked good. Billy was defeated...

    But the bad news. Communique the largest ISP in the state, the company with the most to lose, sold out. They were bought out by Verio. Who could care less because they are so large. Communique also provide most of the bandwidth to smaller ISPS in the area and when Verio bought them out they raised the prices on the little guys to get the customers.

    But it gets better. I sold out and joined the ranks of the unwashed at Verio. Actually, in those days we had damn good prices and service. Everything worked. Before all support moved to the NOC in Dallas.

    BUT I always wondered why Bell never messed with Verio. Sure we used them for many things but they could of taken our business.... Because one day I found out that 80 percent of Bells Webhosting(AT the time) was on Verios servers at Hiway. AND Bell only allowed Verio to resell DSL access in the New Orleans area for a short time when it first become availible.

    This is a little long. Moral of the story is that Louisiana lost out to the Telcos due to a Big ISP, a corrupt senator, and just being in the wrong place in the wrong time. The Bells view this as a success and Tauzin who likes his office in Washington and no doubt some official and unofficial perks from the telcos is taking his little proposal on the road.

    Puto
  • Whatever passes, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mbstone (457308)
    Regardless of its provisions, any bill on the subject of telecom which is passed by Congress will cause your phone and cable bill to go up.
  • Read the Bill (Score:4, Informative)

    by cybermage (112274) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:42AM (#3068919) Homepage Journal
    The point of the bill, as I read it, is to put high-speed Internet access on a par with telephone service, in that it should be available to everyone. The bill requires that high-speed access be available through every bell central office, or CO, within five years; and it requires that every loop from that CO, regardless of distance, be capable of providing high-speed service at the customer's request. If the loop cannot support high-speed access, then the telco must use other technology to deliver the service.

    Inter-connection between ISPs and the Bells are changed in nature, but still required. Existing agreements will run their course; new agreements will require that the fee charged to ISPs for access to the loop be the same that the telco charges itself. The Bells must still allow ISPs to inter-connect with them.

    Perhaps it is best to think of the new arrangements as being akin to the way long-distance telephone service is handled. Today, when you signup for a telephone you can choose your long-distance carrier and change it at will. When/if this bill passes, it seems that the intent is for you to do the same with your ISP.

    One last point that should be clarified: the bill does not trash the unbundling portions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It simply says that it doesn't allow for using those unbundled components for anything other than telephone service; consequently, it reverses the interpretations put forward by the FCC that has led to the hodge-podge, bankrupt, trail-and-error solutions to high-speed access we've seen to date.
  • by alcohollins (64804) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @12:48AM (#3068936)
    Here's some excerpts from Rep. Billy Tauzin on his telecom bill in a WashingtonPost.com web chat [washingtonpost.com]. I'm not sure he really knows what he's talking about.

    Pasadena, Tex.: Why are you trying to kill competition for local, regional and national Internet Service Providers by giving the Bells the right to be a monopoly? As a representative from Louisiana, you will be hurting your own Louisiana ISPs. Competition is what makes the American Dream work, when you get rid of it, we might as well be in Russia in the Cold War!

    Rep. Tauzin: Rather be in Pasadena than Russia any day. First, our bill will not kill the competition nor make Bell companies monopolies. If you believe that I have some great waterfront property in Russia to sell you. The truth is our bill will create the first FCC authority to hammer the Bells for any violation of their obligations to open up their local markets to competitors. The FCC currently does not have such authority except when a Bell company seeks access into the long distance market. Secondly, our bill will preserve for the competitive carriers full line sharing rights to the legacy copper networks and will additionally give local competitors rights to use the Bell companies new fiber and hybrid fiber systems for broadband competition purposes at terms and rates set not by the Bell company but by the FCC. That is as fair as it gets.

    ------

    Silver Spring, Md.: Rep. Tauzin, I used to work for Verizon (local service) and was perpetually disgusted by how that company treated customers and other CLECs. Poor customer service, shoddy network leasing -- I've heard and seen it all. Competition is very much needed to help Verizon help itself.

    Rep. Tauzin: I totally agree. Any monopoly provider as I pointed out earlier is like the single store that gives you bad products, prices, service and occasionally bad attitudes. De-monopolizing the local Bell loops remains a big part of our plans.

    • If Rep. Tauzin is heading toward enforcing a well-regulated monopoly (and I'm not at all sure he is; the first exchange seems to indicate this, but the second seems contrary), then he's on the right track.

      A monopoly that is controlled by the public can be a very nice beast, indeed. In exchange for a guaranteed reasonable profit, the monopoly must toe the line on service, upgrades, and such like. Both parties win: the monopoly can plan years in advance, while the consumer doesn't get shafted by the company.

      Speaking of which, y'all been shafted to no end by the open market. From slamming to customer abuse, there's been no end to the pain the consumer has felt.

    • Err this moron does know that Russia has lots of Waterfront properties and that the ones on the Black sea are very nice indeed (do you think that the Big Wigs ate potatoes ?).

      Bit off topic but the idea of a bloke who doesn't realise that you should use LAND LOCKED countries for that gag making laws is very scary. Maybe there should be an entry exam for goverment....

  • This is news? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Nick (109)
    It's a well known fact that DSL is just second rate to cable. The ill-informed DSL guys will tell you how great it is and all, a nice dedicated connection - but they won't tell you it's dedicated to the switch.

    The point being, you've got all these people pirating mp3s, porn, and software and you still are gonna get shitty service. Let's just hope you live across the street from the telco's switching equipment.

    The telco's have no reason to maintain their lines either, they have to open it up to other companies which look bad when bell decides to get around to fixing a problem on the lines - they make money by neglecting their equipment.

    Cable on the other hand is not regulated meaning they have don't have to open their systems for shit. They generally provide better service anyway.

    In a 2001 Newsweek report it stated that the DSL market has shruken nearly a staggering 14% in one year, 9% of that in the last quarter alone. If you own stock in any of the other big DSL companies such as Verizon, Swbell, or @home then you are in for a big surprise. Lets just hope you enough bandwidth to come crying on slashdot when your company leaves your ass hanging in the breeze.
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @01:45AM (#3069072) Homepage
    This bill is actually a *good* thing. Why? Because it will enable the Bells to charge a huge amount of money for DSL connections. This will make it profitable for people to run optical fiber. Instead of getting a measly 768Kbps, you'll get 100Mbps.
    -russ
  • "Public Trust"! Gee, here we go again, another disaster created by government.

    Yes, indeed, by granting this "public trust" monopoly on the deployment of copper, there are vast areas with one (1) established phone company who owns all the infrastructure.

    And what to do when the mistake is noticed? Retract the protections on the monopoly? De-regulate? Allow the people who own the copper to use it as they wish? Oh no, cannot do that. That would be "anti-competitive". As if the original monopoly grant wasn't.

    So go crying Chicken Little for Government to "fix" the problem they caused in the first place. Prolong the crisis until the whole house of cards comes tumbling down, instead of letting it fail as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    Here I thought Enron might wake people up to the abuses that government grants produce.

    Bob-

  • If your an idiot like me, and don't know who your rep is or how to contact them, you can find out here: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
  • 1) Move the entire fucking US internet using population to Montana. I'll move in next to you and sling ethernet out my window.

    2) I'm sure the rest of you guys have a "Montana" too. For example, in the UK it's France...

    3) 10,000 of us all living in one place should be able to defray the costs for an OC3 to the main backbone. Plus, the local net will be hella fast.

    4) Added bonus: Dominate local politics, allowing at least a few clueful lawmakers into office.

    • by hij (552932)
      Hmmm.. So we'd have a Montana where
      • All land lines are dedicated to DSL and cable modems. All TV's hardwired to game boxen.
      • A pizza delivery joint on every corner, and for each one you can place your order online.
      • The virtual legislature uses slashcode where the bills moderated the highest get passed.
      • Rednecks run around with pickups full of old motherboards in the back.
      • The county linux rodeo is the biggest event of the year.
      • Top flame wars on the online news stations: Free software vs. GPL
      • New state motto: It's not linux, it's GNU/linux.
      • There would be no sales tax and no income tax, and we'd all wonder why our children are illiterate... wait a second...
      • three words: "No more nightlife!"
  • First: Don't bother with e-mail, most staffers consider it "spam". They usually do read their fax messages.

    I sent the following to the fax number of my Congresscritter free of charge, I'd like you to do the same with yours. (look them up on your congresmoron's site at http://www.house.gov .) You can construct a fax number that which will relay your e-mail through the Washington, DC mail > faxgate free of charge by simply substituting your Congressidiot's fax number for the one in the following sample letter. Needless to say, the text of your letter should NOT be identical to mine.

    To find your congressperson, go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/

    The fax number should be somewhere on the congressperson's site entering your zip code and state will get you.

    Note: substitute the 10 digit 1 + area code / phone number of your congressperson WITHOUT dashes or spaces for xxxxxxxxxx below. This is sent as a regular e-mail to the To: address.

    To: remote-printer.firstname_last name/US_Congress@xxxxxxxxxx.iddd.tpc.int

    Subject: HR1542

    Dear [insert name of congressperson here]:
    Please vote NO on HR1542. The only purpose it is intended to serve is to put independent DSL providers out of business to increase RBOC profits, and I don't see this as serving *any* legitimate policy purpose. Unlike the phone companies, I think that competition is a good thing. Your constituents need *more* choices in broadband, not fewer.

    name
    address
    city,state,zip
    (including your address is important because if they don't know you're a constituent, your fax will be tossed into the garbage)


  • The fallacy of the '96 Telecom Act was that, if forced to allow competitors to have access to the physical plant, the Telcos would just roll over and allow anyone to generate revenue on the physical plant they spent all the investment to build. They did not and will not.

    What needs to happen is to rethink the model, and technology is helping out here. Let the RBOCs maintain control over the physical plant, they're good at it thats what they want to do. Let IP technology and the use SIP for session management naturally wrestle control of the network intelligence from RBOCs. This way, the everybody is happy. The RBOCs get to generate revenue on the investment they have made and new service and application providers can make money off of services and applications.

    FM

  • In case no one noticed, two weeks ago the FCC issued a Notification of Proposed Rulemaking. The FCC is seeking comments on its proposal to exempt data from the 1996 Telecommunications Act. This will give the RBOCs everything they wanted from Tauzin-Dingell and then some. No longer will the RBOCs have to offer data lines to other carriers.
  • One more breakup. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday February 26, 2002 @10:29AM (#3069985) Homepage Journal
    In retrospect, it's fairly obvious that the Bell System was broken up in the wrong place. Local and long distance service have a rather blurry line between them at this point. With colocation facilities available for CLEC's, the thing everyone needs access to is the 'last mile' local loop. And that's exactly where the split needs to be.

    Your local telco should be nothing more than a company that provisions local loops and provides colocation facilities for LEC's. Not ILEC's, not CLEC's, just LEC's. If they provide the local loop, and only the local loop, no one company has an unfair advantage.

    At that point, the various LEC's could be completely deregulated. They can provide local dial tone, long distance, Internet service, digital audio/video, whatever... it doesn't matter, because nobody would have this big monster competitor that they also have to buy a piece of their service from.
  • As opposed to what? Slow death to DSL? We've been over the whole DSL thing before (and many times, I might add): no business anywhere wants to give space, equipment, and reduced-rate service to the competition. That's just dumb. And this time the Bells are right: cable service does have unfair rights to its own lines (at least in comparison with phone lines).

    The '96 telco act basically only makes sense for DSL if DSL is prolific enough to necessitate protection. It's not. Almost all of the C-LEC's have gone out of business already, and the service they offer is generally trash. They typically can't afford the larger egresses and charge more to off-set their tremendous over-head.

    Good God, can we at least let the service get a foot-hold before we freak out about the control of the corporations? And hey, if it weren't for corporations, who'd provide the service?

    /RANT:
    I really enjoy reading this site for news. What I can't stand reading, though, is how everyone's "rights" are being trampled. A guy posts treasonous info and gets busted: /.er's complain. A guy steals code/illegally distributes other people's IP/steals music: /.er's say "Big deal. It's within my rights to steal." Someone steals a /.er's work: the world might as well have come to an end.

    Do the rules only apply when we want them to? When they serve an agenda? Is corporate America wholly outside of their rights by conducting business under (inter)national law?

    Granted, I dislike some laws, like the DMCA and whatever damned law created ICANN, but breaking the law doesn't prove anything. Oh, sure: call your congressman to prevent something that might actually make DSL available and affordable, but just break the law when you don't like what's being done to your "rights".

    Sorry. I just get so sick of hearing about "rights" this and "rights" that. You have no digitally protected rights. Everything you are doing can be and is being logged by someone. And that someone's TOS says they're damned well within their limits. And nobody has the "right" to lawlessness. Change the laws through protest: you have the right to do that.
    /END RANT

    Thank you and have a very nice day
  • Do we want Ford, Chrystler, and Toyota owning roads? It is after all the countries infrastructure.

    I say, let the state/goverment/ dig the fiber, give local companies the chance to run the switches, and give a lot of companies the chance to compete with telephone, mobile phones, DSL, ether, services, blah, blah. This will create jobs, competition, new blood, better choice, etc, etc. That is what we like to see, world wide, not this *crap*...
  • Really. I was very anti-T-D. Then I read the bill. It grandfathers in all the agreements already in place with the Bells for co-lo-ing and access to infrastructure, and requires the Bells to continue to offer these things on slightly different, but not ridiculous terms.

    It requires that everyone in the USA have access to broadband within 5 years, subject to serious penalties, requires the FCC to monitor and enforce the laws (contrary to a very deceiving ad run locally in DC by voicesforchoices), and makes special provisions for under served communities.

    I understand the arguments against letting the Bells be the ones to deploy this service, but consider the following with an open mind. It is an enormous undertaking to connect 275M+ people (something like 175M households) to this highspeed service. Those many of you who live in Urban and Suburban areas, remember that this includes people who live in places where people are outnumbered by cattle and sheep. Those of you who decry the government, realize that this is the government reigning in rules it forced on the Bells in 1996, and enforcing what may be called more reasonable requirements, calling on the Bells to provide the guarentee of service for all, rather than just forcing the Bells to share their equipment bought with their capital and effectively nationalized in 1996. Democrats should like that it is eqalitarian, with a little extra help for the underserved, Republicans should like that it sets the balance back to a capitlaist one where the Bells can better determine their own fate, and Libertarians should like that the government is stepping out of a forced deregulation of what was not deemed to be a monopoly.

    I applaud the efforts of Covad et. al. to bring more DSL out to the public -- certainly they've hurried along the progress. But they are corporations designed to be profitable, just like the Bells, and aren't any more interested in losing money trying to serve sparsely populated areas than the Bells are. They aren't any more interested in losing money, either, except that they have had to bite the bullet to gain customers. But the entire business is built around using someone else's stuff. This is somewhat like some small hardware or software company getting the government to mandate to computer makers that they save a PCI slot for their product because the PC makers weren't including their piece of hardware fast enough. It might speed adoption of the hardware if there is demand, but the PC makers will wise up and include it themselves, and they'll built the part themselves to boot.

    The real competition for the Bells in this area comes from the cable companies, maybe wireless, maybe the power utilities. Consumers have a much better shot at making sure we keep the big players from getting in bed. The AOL/TW -- Verizon merger is the one we really need to watch out for.
    • by kindbud (90044)
      It grandfathers in all the agreements already in place with the Bells for co-lo-ing and access to infrastructure, and requires the Bells to continue to offer these things on slightly different, but not ridiculous terms.

      So we can keep Qwest, SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and whatever 2nd tier providers have survived so far, but new competition is a no-go from here on out.

      It requires that everyone in the USA have access to broadband within 5 years, subject to serious penalties,

      There is no guarantee that when the time comes, those penalties won't be waved, like they often are.

      ...requires the FCC to monitor and enforce the laws

      Oh, right. As if they do that now. How many TV station conglomerates have exceeded the quota with no enforcement action? How many DSL providers were driven out of business by the incumbents while the FCC stood by and allowed them to practically flaunt openly the open access rules?

      (contrary to a very deceiving ad run locally in DC by voicesforchoices),

      Moot.

      ...and makes special provisions for under served communities.

      Uh-huh. Look, you can believe whatever you want, but telecom bills are not high on the list of credible predictors of future performance. Look at the Telecom Act of '96, fat lotta good that did. Ask Covad if the '96 bill did what was promised, then ask yourself why this bill should be regarded any differently.

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