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Communications The Internet

SBC's VoIP End Run 95

Chris Holland writes "Right on the heels of a positive FCC regulation preventing individual U.S. States from levying taxes on VoIP communications, SBC, according to Om Malik, appears to have brought to a quick end the 'lets not pay any termination fees' party that had VoIP upstarts drunk. Jeff Pulver is also sharing his take."
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SBC's VoIP End Run

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  • Oh deary me... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jacksonj04 ( 800021 )
    This is getting silly now. Surely VoIP is inherently uncontrollable? Isn't MSN's voice chat a form of VoIP? Isn't Skype?

    Nobody is going to charge me termination fees for them are they? Come on, it's like trying to regulate HTTP trafficm it simply cannot be done. The network will find a way round anything it percives as 'damage', and if a certain technology is suddenly being charged for it isn't that hard to find another one.
    • Re:Oh deary me... (Score:4, Informative)

      by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) * on Saturday November 20, 2004 @11:42AM (#10874645)
      Only if its an end-to-end VoiP call. This is related to the VoiP companies such as Vonage, Voicepulse, etc, and calls placed from their customers *to* non-voip lines. And they arent charging *you* the end user, they are charging the voip company for terminating calls on their network (Obviously unless the voipco's want to lose money they will pass the costs on)
      • calls placed from their customers *to* non-voip lines -cut- And they arent charging *you* the end user

        Isn't this what SkypeOut does [skype.net] then?
        • Yes, but if I have Skype on any device then it doesn't cost me to call it.

          I have Skype running on my palmtop using Bluetooth to get a net connection. If you need me, you can Skype me anywhere in my home for no additional cost.

          After re-reading the article twice and finally twigging what was going on I can see that it is just for termination on POTS networks.
    • they're talking about voip call ending up in a regular phoneline. not about connections made purely on the internet(on which you do pay through some hoops for everything as well).

    • Re:Oh deary me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HidingMyName ( 669183 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @11:51AM (#10874692)
      I didn't fully understand the article when I read it, but I think the termination fees aren't related to the internet, but to the local phone system.

      So Suppose that I'm calling from long distance to a friend of mine using VOIP, and that friend uses a traditional phone. Then what most VOIP vendors do is provide a sort of central office in each area code, and route the VOIP traffic there, and from the central office make a local phone call to establish connectivity. Traditionally this last hop has been cheap, however (if I understand correctly) SBC wants to charge more for local phone service when it is the last hop of a VOIP call. Since this kind of discriminatory pricing appears to be anticompetitive, I suspect that the govt. may prevent it.

      I've heard menbtion of attacks by ISPs that label the packets from their competitors as lower priority, giving their competitors inferior service. I'm uncertain whether the govt. has/will have/will enforce regulations about that.

      • Lowering the priority on packets from elsewhere might get them into contract trouble if they're high enough up the food chain to have peering agreements.
        • They have hundreds of peering agreements. And you are right, if they started interfering will the priority of VoIP traffic they would be creating a ton of problems. It just won't happen.
      • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gma ... m minus language> on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:48PM (#10874959) Homepage
        All the VOIP companies have to do is not tell the phone companies that they're VOIP.

        "Hello, this is the phone company, is the business with this phone service a VOIP company?"

        "Uhhh, no."

        "Because we get a whole lot of calls out of your building, and the people gettinng the calls have had a sharp decrease in their use of long-distance service."

        "We ummm...are a cult, and we encourage our members to cut off contact with all their friends and relatives."
      • Re:Oh deary me... (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I had to set up a demo for the FCC with a linux box (using iptables/tc) showing how a major ISP that provided its own voice service could degrade the voice quality for its competitors. Apparently, one of these carriers had told this committee that such a thing was impossible! Well, if you can't make the appropriate 1-2 line entry in iptables , then yeah--it's impossible...

        The scary thing is that there were several people on this committee who saw absolutely no problem with a company doing this. Now I don

      • Remember that AT&T lived under a concent decree for many decades due to their monopolistic practices which drove out many other telcos from the marketplace (they would pull strings to have competitors' loans called early and similar other tactics which make me think of Microsoft). The government did eventually enforce regulations against them by saying that although telephone service was a "natural monopoly" they could not get into other markets because they were preventing competition. Indeed divesti
      • I didn't fully understand the article when I read it...

        ...when you what now?
    • First of all I couldnt follow that article at all. it was so vague with its explanation of what SBC has done!?!

      Secondly, when the 2nd internet arrives IIRC traffic types will be labelled. At that time it will be easy to regulate VOIP 'traffic'. A bill could instruct any transmitters of live voice audio must tag it with said label so it can be regulated.
  • good (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 )
    This coming on the same day they banned a tax on internet service and shopping
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/20/politics/20inter net.html [nytimes.com]
    Great news for the web
  • Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @11:42AM (#10874642) Homepage Journal
    brought to a quick end the 'lets not pay any termination fees' party that had VoIP upstarts drunk.
    brought to a quick end the 'lets not not understand the convoluted sentence' party that had slashdot trolls drunk.
  • All of this is reality if you are on SBC's network, but what if you have cable, wireless or the newly opened Broadband over Powerline available? It's a free market and it's not as if SBC is the only provider! SBC has to be competitive. I think this could drive business away from them.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "All of this is reality if you are on SBC's network, but what if you have cable, wireless or the newly opened Broadband over Powerline available? It's a free market and it's not as if SBC is the only provider! SBC has to be competitive. I think this could drive business away from them."

      And how many markets is that true in? Also monopolies aren't "free market", be it no competition, or lots of government regulations.
    • somewhat (Score:4, Interesting)

      by r00t ( 33219 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:07PM (#10874755) Journal
      I get both phone and Internet over the cable TV
      network, but no TV! (they look at me like I have
      two heads or something)

      It's cheaper this way.
      • I get both phone and Internet over the cable TV network, but no TV! (they look at me like I have two heads or something) It's cheaper this way.

        This is modded funny (ironic would probably be a better mod if available), but I do the exact same thing. I have a DirectTV w/ Tivo setup and VOIP / internet w/ Comcast. To get the same TV coverage and service w/ Comcast for TV I'd be paying about $15 more per month AND would have to use one of Comcast's horrendous DVRs. I get better service (and picture) for

    • It's a free market

      Bullshit. SBC is using the authority of the FCC---one of those powerful organizations that have the force of law behind them.

    • Unfortunately there's very little about the home-telephone market that is free. One of the reasons that VOIP providers can charge so little is because they don't have to pay all the regulatory fees that everybody else does. A regulated market is the opposite of a free market. It's regulated because they have a government-endorsed monopoly.
      • Well, back to my original post on this thread - I think all that has been said here only strengthens what I was trying to say. SBC can charge all they want to for termination fees, but at some point the customers will decide that enough is enough. They will demand a better rate (by switching to another provider). The power companies are chomping at the bit to deliver BPL - why? Their intentions are just like the cable companies... not only will they provide electricity, but television, and VoIP telephony. I
  • by BobaFett ( 93158 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @11:52AM (#10874696) Homepage
    I don't know how VoIP works now, so may be someone can explain what exactly SBC is planning here, but...

    Say, I have an appliance in my house which connects to the net and sends encrypted traffic to some server somewhere out there using one of the standard protocols and ports (https, or one of vpn protocols). Said appliance happens to me by internet phone, and the encrypted traffic carries voice. The server could be that of Vonage, or Vonage could contract with some big VPN provider or some other third party as well. What is SBC going to do? Trottle down all SSL/https, and all VPN? Unlikely. Figure out which ones are Vonage's? Can be pretty hard, they all look the same, that's the idea.

    Now, if Vonage currently does not do it and sends voice unencrypted or using some easilly identifiable dedicated ports or protocols, this is bad ofr many reasons, mostly it's bad for us users, but now it's bad for Vonage too, so may be they will change it to a more secure protocol. That would be good for everyone.
    • by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @11:57AM (#10874719) Journal
      Its all about the final connection to people using traditional phone lines. I use Packet 8 as my VOIP provider and call my grandmother in Indiana. She is not tech savy, and uses a traditional telephone. My phone call is routed through the net until it needs to get to her telephone. That is where the Bells intend to kill VOIP (by anyone except themselves). Right now the VOIP companies pay a low rate for this final termination. The Bells want to jack that rate up to the point where it would kill the VOIP companies.

      If I call another VOIP phone the problem doesn't exist, but the vast majority of phones I call are traditional telephones, not VOIP. That means the VOIP companies would either have to a) charge extra for every call I make to a non-VOIP phone, or b) charge extra across the board. Either approach would price them out of the market.

      • This may backfire on SBC because in the local markets these interconnect agreements are tied in with recip-comp - carrier A and carrier B have places where they they interconnect and each carrier is paid by the other for terminating calls for their customers. This has been a huge deal for dial ISPs who are also CLECs because their phone lines have been a destination rather than a source of calls and some VOIP architectures would have only increased that. In an effort to curry favor (and business) with SBC a
      • by BobaFett ( 93158 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:53PM (#10875346) Homepage
        How do wireless companies handle this?

        And, how does SBC charge this termination fee? Somewhere out there sits a device which receives packets, converts packets into voice, dials a phone, and "speaks into the phone". SBC charges for hooking up that device, right? Seems like the same charge would them apply to wireless and long-distance carriers, no? Also, what would happen if Packet 8 struk a deal with, say, MCI, and hooked up their IP-to-voice converter to MCI's network (which is all IP anyway) and then SBC would just see all calls as long-distance from MCI?

        • Somewhere out there sits a device which receives packets, converts packets into voice, dials a phone, and "speaks into the phone".

          To me, this sounds like an Inverse ISP.

          Local independent ISPs with banks of modems and a high speed net connection have all the equipment in place to provide service in the direction opposite to what they started doing.

  • Regulation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @11:52AM (#10874697) Journal
    And now we see exhibit 2^74th in our ongoing demonstration of why regulations are not necessarially a bad thing. The Bells want to use their monopoly on the "last mile" to force the other players out of the market, just as they did with DSL.

    Our toothless FCC and SEC will do nothing because they are lead by people who believe that regulation is, in and of itself, a very bad thing. Michael "the Market is my God" Powell is about as likely to stop the Bells from squashing the competition as George Bush is to announce that he's in favor of gay marriage. Naturally there will be people who will claim that this can't stop the bold VOIP companies, but they'll be wrong. If the Bells can charge exhorbinant rates for call termination it'll put Vonage, Packet 8, and the rest out of business in a year.

    It is possible that massive public outcry could change things and force even Michael Powell's FCC to stop the Bells. I wouldn't count on it though...

    • Re:Regulation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:05PM (#10874743) Homepage
      If the Bells can charge exhorbinant rates for call termination it'll put Vonage, Packet 8, and the rest out of business in a year.

      Get off your hysteria horse-- they can't charge exhorbinant rates for call termination. This part is, and always has been, regulated. Vonnage's connection to the phone network at large is like that of any of the long distance companies. SBC can no more charge Vonnage higher termination rates than they can AT&T and Sprint-MCI. All SBC can do is compete with them on price, which isn't a bad thing.

    • Our toothless FCC and SEC will do nothing because they are lead by people who believe that regulation is, in and of itself, a very bad thing.

      Is this the same FCC that imposed extremely unreasonable 911 and wiretapping regulations on VoIP? The same FCC that periodically announces crackdowns on smut with exorbitant fees?

      • Well, now you're just being silly. Chairman Powell is just keeping all the children of the world away from bad, bad things like body parts, and "the terrorists."

        Seriously, the FCC is now in charge of regulation of what you say, not how it is transmitted. After all, we have all this great technology [arrl.org] will sort out QRM [fixthemachine.com] and other [aimglobal.org] problems automatically, what with their silicon chips and such. Besides, from a political standpoint, most people don't understand technological issues anymore, and the FCC went from

  • by jmcharry ( 608079 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:14PM (#10874779)
    Currently I believe VOIP provides interconnect with the landline telephone network by means of CLECs, at least where they can. Presumably the CLECs charge them less than the BOCs. SBC may be introducing a tariff to compete with the CLECs for the VOIPs interconnect business.
  • Prioritizing traffic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:15PM (#10874780)
    Many overlooked the fact that Cisco bought a company called P-Cube recently. One of the things P-Cube can do is prioritize the traffic flows on an IP network. SBC could use it and lower the priority of the traffic coming from say Vonage or AT&T. Nothing illegal here: SBC's network and it can do pretty much what it wants on its own network. Poor quality, lags, dropped packets and soon Vonage customers could be switching to SBC VoIP: which is more expensive, has better quality and of course is highly profitable.

    Actually, it *is* illegal to directly interfere with a competitor's business. SBC would be criminally liable if they tried to prioritize the traffic of their competitors.
    • No, not really. SBC can do whatever they want with their network. For example, suppose that my business model is selling used video games to a "Buy Back Games" typre store. Every day, I come in with a pile of old SNES cartriges, shouting and making a nuissance of myself. The guy who owns that store can kickk me out seven different ways, and still be well within his rights, even though he is "interfering with my business."

      It's his store, so he has the right to interfere in my business, but I have no rig
    • data networks, unlike phone networks are *completely* unregulated.

      they can (and im sure do) whatever they want
    • In fact, giving positive priorities to VOIP and interactive video-conferencing are the main reasons carriers are interested in QoS solutions. Some of that's for services they deploy themselves, but mostly it's to sell differentiated-quality services to businesses that are willing to pay more to get better real-time treatment.

      For the business market, you could really accomplish 90% of the QoS needs by simple egress queuing that gives a lower priority to HTTP, SMTP, and maybe FTP, or a bit more crudely, by

  • Google Ad (Score:4, Funny)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:19PM (#10874800) Homepage
    Somehow, I don't think SBC really wants this link placed with this article:

    Order Sbc Global
    Tired Of Slow Internet Connections? Order SBC Yahoo! DSL today.
    www.SBC.com
  • Play the same game (Score:1, Interesting)

    by tdc_vga ( 787793 )
    Vonage should just charge SBC a "termination" fee if their customers call vonage. In the end with everyone switching to VOIP anyway, it'll just result in the classic companies fading out faster.

    Cheers,
    TdC
    • Vonage should just charge SBC a "termination" fee if their customers call vonage.

      Yes, that's a nice idea.

      But to do that they have to define themselves as a local phone carrier. Then they've waived their status as an unregulated internet service.

      They get hit with the 911 tax, state and federal phone regulations, and have to pay the full interconnect charge rather than this "bargain rate" SBC is offereing on a "voluntary" basis.
  • by mstovenour ( 723168 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:29PM (#10874842) Journal
    While companies like Qwest (Old US-West) are embracing the technology. Qwest's CEO has been vocal about their plans to compete head-to-head against the startup VoIP companies. To put their money where their mouth is, Qwest explicitly agreed to let any VoIP service terminate traffic in the Qwest local markets without paying termination charges. Just the exact opposite of SBC...... Why the 180 degree polar opposite decision by two of the largest telephone companies in the country? IMHO, Qwest is embracing VoIP themselves while SBC is late to the game, again. SBC seems to come up dead last in any data or telephone technology. What else to do but try to slow down all the competitors.
    • I dunno -- Qwest just seems like they're throwing the hail mary at the end of the game. Motley Fool Commentary [google.com].

      -l

    • Qwest has a very significant relationship with KMC telecom, a CLEC that provides local and long distance service outside of Qwest's own legacy RBOC territory, as well as owning its own fiber network run along railroad rights of way.

      This is basically the second chapter in "reciprocal compensation", a major screwup by the ILECs following the telecom reform act of 1996. The ILECs (like SBC) set the call termination charges as high as state regulators would allow - but didn't see that ISPs would use CLECs for
  • Termination chargges are not all bad, but to try to apply them to VoIP is insane for all the reasons other posters submited.

    Termination charges are good for collecting taxes like the universal service fund. That tax ensures that people in rural areas, where it is much more expensive to deliver service, are subsdidized. IMHO, not all that bad of an idea if done within reason.

    But the "right" way to charge termination fees is on the "data" pipe that is used to deliver content. NOT on the services on that
  • Does all this means that future Skype communication prices are going to be higher than currently prices ?
  • This is nothing new. LEC's have been paying each other for access to their networks ( terminating LD calls ) for years. Carrier access billing is a decent profit center in and of itself!

    From CarrierAccessBilling.com [carrieraccessbilling.com]:

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates that all telecommunications carriers whose facilities are used to provide long distance service are entitled to a share of the compensation paid for that service. This revenue helps the local company to provide facilities over which the l

    • Carrier access billing is a decent profit center in and of itself!

      I know at least two people that struck it seriously rich with this as their only real source of revenue - they could sell to their customers at near cost because their customers were the destination for calls from Bell customers.

      Ah, if only it were still 1997. :)

  • Yo Judge Green!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AetherBurner ( 670629 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @12:40PM (#10874910)
    I hope you are enjoying this. Back when it was stylish and in vogue to pile on AT&T with the thoughts of AT&T being the "Big, Bad Monopoly" (though highly government regulated), we had one communications structure - well defined and orchestrated for its time. But of course there were the people served by the Great Telephone Experiment (GTE) that never could get it right. Yes, AT&T had their problems but when my phone was out, problems were fixed the first time out. Now, no one knows what to make of this morass called wireline telecommunications. YOU let the genie out of the bottle and now we have to sort through this mess and the "The $ is King" Federal Clueless Commission just rubber stamps proposals without really using their brains to understand what their decisions mean. I will bet a wooden nickle that these decisions by the FCC are being done to featherbed their pockets for when their time is up at the expense of the users. So, now it is time to direct the frustrations toward the Southern Boys Club and it is well deserved!
  • Am I bad because I just don't care? How many different residential 'solution providers' do I really need? Is the potential savings really worth the effort that it would take me to choose which the best VoIP provider would be?

    I got cable/hdtv/broadband modem/telephone all coming into the house on one wire, and all being paid for with one bill. One phone number to call for customer service. Simple, I like it. And I don't have to waste any time checking to see who's lowered their prices or added new feat
  • by bluGill ( 862 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:12PM (#10875091)

    Vonage and the likes already have momentum. Asterisk [asterisk.org] and the likes are in position to take over the PBX market. Connect the two automaticly, along with various other networks, and there is enough mass to solve this. Aunt Mary might not understand it now, but when all her relatives tell her to get off SBC because she is the only one in the world(!) they call where they have to pay fees, and she will be forced to listen. Once Aunt Mary realizes that she can call pretty much everyone for less on her VOIP phone, she drops SBC as an extra bill that she doesn't need.

    Soon SBC and the like will file for bankruptcy... Not really, they do have DSL, which is a good way to connect. When the notice that customers are switching to Cable internet just to avoid having to pay for an unused voice line, they will drop that all voice/DSL bundling requirements.

    As geeks it is our responsibility to socity to make sure it happens. So start your own VOIP expiriment at home, and use it once in a while. Long distance telephone is obsolete, but nobody has realized it yet.

  • by kkoning ( 29512 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @01:15PM (#10875122) Homepage

    When the Bells were originally forced to open their networks to competition by the '96 telcom act, they lobbied for and recieved a concession called Recipricol Compensation. When the ILECs (SBC, et. al.) and newly created CLECs interconnected with each other's networks, each party would pay the other to terminate calls on the other party's network. This was done so that CLECs could not go after the high volume, profitable, business customers without sending a significant chunk of the profits back to the ILECs in the form of Recipricol Compensation.

    Then along came the internet, and all of a sudden the traffic flow to CLECs was completely reversed! Now, instead of making a lot of calls, the largest customers were *recieving* a *lot* of calls, and they were lasting longer (Recip. Comp. is billed by the minute). All of a sudden, SBC decided the old system wasn't fair and that it needed to be changed. They removed the old system from their new InterConnection Agreements (ICAs) with CLECs to the best of their regulatory abilities, and eventually mostly succeded in stopping these payments to CLECs. SBC decided the regulation was no longer fair because it was no longer in its best interest! Now, when the situation has swung the back other way with VoIP, they're trying to change the rules again. It's no surprise they'd try, but what's sad about our political and regulatory systems is that, at least in the medium term, it's probably they'll get their way.

    As someone who's facinated by Economics and a big fan of fair and open markets, the current situation with the former Bells seems intolerable. The '96 act has failed to create a truely competitive market in telecommunications because it relied too hevily on the Government's ability to come up with good, fair regulations, and the ILECs good behavior in obeying them. IMHO, what needs to happen is new federal legislation forcing divestment of the ILECs last mile infrastructure and tandem (interconnection) switches from their retail sides. The new entity would retain the monopoly on the physical infrastructure, but be highly regulated- prohibited from selling directly to consumers, price controlled, and would be forced to treat all carriers equally. The retail side would have to compete on a level playing field with everyone else. This situation wouldn't be perfect, but it would be better than what we have today. Look what happened with long distance once the market became competitive! Compare rates 10-15 years ago with those of today. I remember paying $0.25/min for a long distance call of less than 100 miles, and today I can buy *unlimited* local and long distance anywhere in the country for $25/mo through Vonage- less than the local line alone from SBC.

    The situation we have now seems to be headed back to a private entity extracting monopoly rents for a vital infrastructure, which IMHO is even worse than state control. Even with all the barriers SBC is throwing up, some CLECs are making it work- but things seem risky. CLECs need a stable, fair, regulatory environment in order to make the investments that will, in the long run, benefit all of us. SBC has managed to virtually eliminate Recip Comp, change other significant terms of interconnection, and eliminate line sharing. If the regulators continue to let the ILECs have their way, the result will be changing rules that bankrupt existing CLECs and discourage new market entrants.

  • If I had a "magic wand" for interconnect fees, here's how I would do it:

    The "local telephone switch" would charge fees for anything coming in and coming out. For "shared bandwidth" circuits, which is almost everything but the line to your house, pricing would be based on bit-traffic. In "dedicated-bandwidth" lines like a dedicated copper line to your house, pricing would be based on minutes used and/or bit-traffic, depending on the nature of the switch and whether connection-time or bandwidth was tying u
  • As long as the monopoly is allowed to crush it's competitors through regulation, the consumer looses. As long as the monopoly can crush it's competition through regulation, the competitor and the inovator loose. As long as the monopoly crushes it's competition through regulation, the monopoly, and the government (which requires a stable tax revene to survive) wins.

    One idea is to cut out the PSTN all together. There are large chunks of frequency space that is unregulated. Private lines/Cable lines are a
  • VoIP terminating in POTS is still wrong. Of course you have to do it to be able to call people who are not on VoIP. But eventually most people and businesses will have IP bandwidth sufficient to carry all their voice traffic direct. A great many have that now. Then we migrate to "voice IP to IP" and finally put an end to all the nonsense.

    ... until the spammers and telemarketers team up.

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Saturday November 20, 2004 @03:23PM (#10875834) Homepage

    No, this isn't specifically a voice over IP to IP idea (though that is the ultimate answer). How the P2P part comes in works like this. End users who have broadband or other high speed connectitivity, and a normal (POTS) phone line (and voice card to connect to it), would sign up for this "service" and run the software. When a VoIP call needs to terminate at some local exchange where such a "customer" is present and idle, the call will be made by connecting to the "termination agent" software that "customer" is running, and the call (local only) is made from that customer's phone line. That customer then gets a credit on their VoIP bill for a percentage of the cost of the call, which can be rolled over to the next month, traded online for goodies, or paid out in cash, depending on what the VoIP company can set up.

    This concept, in a store and forward form, was the basis of many earlier networks from FIDO to UUCP. And with direct internet connectivity, many do this now with data calls connecting through an outbound modem. And even in the early 1970's a place I worked at was dynamically rerouting phone calls being placed to other cities via various trunk lines they had to that city (it was unused video trunks at the time) just to avoid the long distance changes (the theory was, why pay the phone company for resources that were not being used, and why not use the resources that are being paid for).

  • ...brought to a quick end the 'lets not pay any termination fees' party that had VoIP upstarts drunk...

    "Sorry, don't understand your banter."

  • Should we organize a boycott of SBC in its coverage areas? They will have trouble staying in business if all their customers use 3rd party local providers (sure they still get the last mile fees, but that is drops in a bucket compared to calling plans sold directly to consumers).

  • Why did the tone of that article remind me of all the spams I get promoting one stock or another? I rock. You suck. It's just that simple.

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