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FCC Decides ISP Calls are Long-Distance 199

Myko was the first to write in with an article confirming that the FCC has decided that ISP Calls are Long Distance. This opens all sorts of problems that quite simply reduce down to the consumer getting charged more money for our crappy slow modem connections.
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FCC Decides ISP Calls are Long-Distance

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's not unreasonable for ISP calls to be treated differently than voice calls. The usage pattern is different. Telco capacity, etc, is all based on statistical models of call frequency, duration, etc. ISP calls tend to last a lot longer than your average voice call, so the phone company gets screwed. It's not at all unreasonable for them to want to recover the etxra cost.
  • Long distance is much cheaper with companies like 10-10-321, 10-10-120, and their ilk than it was back in the days of Ma Bell... The thing about networked systems is that the transport mechanism is often very very expensive (ie laying train track, gas lines, or fiberoptic cable)...

    Your typical "Mom and Pops ISP" doesnt have to lay the T3, just lease it...

  • READ THE FUCKING THING! You're NOT going to be charged more for your precious internet connection! Rob, you really need to learn not to jump the gun on these things. :/

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • So since a majority of the traffic is internet-bound, I won't be able to access local servers (mail, news, etc.) without incurring extra charges? Brilliant.
  • any action by the local telephone companies to apply extra charges could inspire a significant shift in local telephone providers.

    I was being billed more than $60 per month on my phone line for local charges that was attributable only to my dial in access.

    For me the net cost of cable is cheaper and somewhat faster than regular phone connections.

    In many areas, this is not an option, however, examine other options, e.g. making a competing long distance provider your local phone company ( after being assured they will not be as stupid !

    Begin speaking to these companies now so you can instruct them in the proper competitive stance vis-a-vis the consumer.
  • We get enough crap with our slow modem connections. The Internet is supposed to be a place where people can do whatever they want. Free speech. Right? Screw the government. It wasn't their idea. Now they want to regulate it. And what will it give them? NOTHING.
  • I keep reading these comments and considering one peculiar interpretation that comes to mind. Supposing this is _for_ charging really large interstate ISPs? It is unfortunately fantasy, but supposing I call up my local ISP, SoVerNet, which is a 7 digit dialup, and still within that area they tie into the net? Now, suppose I call up a local AOL node, which calls another, which calls another one God knows where, and then ties into the net from a totally different state?
    Wouldn't it be interesting if this sort of thing was used to squeeze money out of the hugest ISPs? One thing you can say is, they _have_ the money. We don't- we'll just be forced into silence if we get hit with such charges. Supposing the AOLs of the world have become rich by using these loopholes? It would be very interesting if this development actually _aided_ local ISPs as a phenomenon, and mostly sucked the blood of the overarching, huge ISPs that are so brutal for local operations to compete with. On the one hand, yes yes, evil wicked government is going to lick the hand of the rich corporations and put the hurt on us poor regular folks. On the other hand- who, exactly, has the money in this equation? The rich corporations- and these days it's the Microsofts, the AOLs, etc., and they make it damned tough to maintain a normal capitalism with many players anymore. Wouldn't it be interesting if the government, purely out of self-interest, decided that since these corporations have all the money now, _they_ should be the focus for 'creative fundraising and taxation'?
    Just a thought. I'd looooove to see my local ISP untouched, and AOL and MSN etc brutally taxed >:)
    I wonder what the real truth will be.
  • Posted by wfwilson:

    No what it will probably mean is your ISP will get the snot charged out of them, then have to pass the charges on to the customers. I work for a small ISP, and this could possibly kill us if it goes the way I think it might. ( God, I hope not!)

    This will only help the Telcos in killing out their competiton in the ISP market.

  • Posted by Largo_3:

    This deserves action by consumer groups, anyone wanna /. the FCC website?
  • Posted by Tony Smolar:

    I read an article on this a few months back. Here's why the FCC had to rule on this.

    If you haven't noticed, everyone seems to be getting into the phone biz these days, the Baby Bells no longer have a monopoly on phone service.

    The Baby Bells advocated a "originater pays" policy when dealing with phone connections between providers, so if a MediaOne phone customer calls a Bell Atlantic customer, MediaOne would pay BA for that call. The Baby Bells thought that this would work in their favor.

    What happened is the New Guys (the non-baby bells) started signing up a large number of ISPs as customers, since they are on the receiving end of so many phone calls)

    So when the Baby Bells noticed that they were paying big bucks to the New Guys because of these ISP calls, they went to the FCC and said "Wah, Wah! They can't do this to us, make them stop, Wah, Wah".

    So this decision means that the FCC has sided with the Baby Bells on this one.

    It's a bad decision because it will only serve to further protect the Baby-Bell monopolies
  • Posted by stu vanderhoffenstoffen:

    UNC has an excellent student network. All the dorms are wired, and the networking staff is highly competent. And look, they've got the site formerly known as sunsite [unc.edu]! This uni is definitely worth the money in that regard.


  • Posted by OGL:

    I'm only asking because I'm going to be using it this summer once I move out of the dorms. My plan is to hook up an old 486 box as a firewall then ip masquerade to my Linux box and my roommate's Win98 machine. Will they do the service hookup if I'm connecting it to a linux machine?

  • They get "screwed" only in the sense that they make a ridiculous profit instead of an amazingly ridiculous profit. Their cost per call is miniscule, even considering the different usage patterns. Chalk one up to the lobbyists...

  • ... I'm glad I call into work for Internet access. Next they'll be saying that calls to a radio station are long distance too since your voice can be broadcast further than your local calling area.
  • If the phone companies or ISPs end up paying more, you think they won't pass those costs along to us?

  • Actually, there is a reason that the telcos were forced to open their markets to newcomers. They were monopolies. They control an essential facility. They have to provide access to that facility for a fee. What happened here is that the telcos are getting rid of the newcomers that came in and used the telcos' own "reciprocal compensation" rules against them. This means that the ISPs that were getting the cut-rate deals from these companies will now end up paying the full rate that the telcos charge. You still think you won't see a price increase?

    As usual, anyone in possession of a bigger clue than myself is welcome to correct this post. We all need to quickly learn what really happened and what it will ultimately mean to us. This post reflects my current understanding of the situation, which is always open to adjustments. :)

  • Wow. Took 18 minutes for someone to get it right.
    Though I suppose most of the replies were from
    Canadians, and they maybe can be forgiven. I
    must've missed this the other 2 times it hit
    slashdot. Comes up often enough on all the
    mailing lists I'm on...
  • Hey, let's make the Internet even more costly! Let's be like Europe! Hey, screw the kids! They can learn on the street and on ancient shit in schools! Alright!

    The FCC sucks ass.

  • The call I make to my ISP is local.


    The ISP has commincation lines that could be subject to interstate FCC regs, but my phone call is still LOCAL.

    I heard about the billing problems arising with ISP's and telco's and how the telco's pay each other for calls that use both of their equipment. I can see why that may have to change, but their method of classifing ISP calls as long distace is wrong.
  • What is the tax on long distance calls that they're now applying to ISP calls? It comes out to a few dollars on an itemized long distance bill. Most phone companies build the tax into their long distance charges.
  • Connellsville, Scottdale, and Mt. Pleasant have cable modems too...from a different ISP than Uniontown. For being backwater southwestern PA, there sure is a lot of high tech activity. I guess mountain folk just like their porn.
  • Oh, yea, the phone company is getting screwed... Sure, that's why record numbers of households have been "sold" a second line for thier computer now. "Are you sure you don't want a second phone line put in for your computer? It's not going to double your basic rate, it's only raising it from $19.55 a month to $35.95 a month, and you won't have to worry about missing a call while your on the internet."

    Come on... They may have more traffic now, but they have better technology to handle it. And they are selling additional services now that they never offered before. I have a damn hard time believeing thier going broke because of the Internet!

    So, now they sold everyone a second line, thier going to charge them per minute to actually use that second line??!?!! You can BET people will flock to cable modem. And if you don't get Cable modem yet (like me), just place a weekly phone call to your cable company (mine is TCI) asking them "is cable modem avaliable yet" (I know the answer is no, but I want to be honest in my effort to let them know I want it, and I wanna know as soon as I can get it.)

  • Now what about bbses? I know they're really not too popular, but this could bring them back. Specially with those of us that have sdsl or the likes. Somebody can set their network up for friends to connect to the internet via a SLIP connection, and how will the isp know that my phoneline is being used to access the internet for my friends? Either way i need to go look for Exitialus (sp?) It's been way too long.
  • If these are local calls that go from one telco to another one, the originating telco pays the completing telco.

    If these are called long distance calls, the originating telco does not pay the completing telco.

    And there is a welfare program for suburbanites and farmers in there that might be affected, too.
  • Sorry, that answer is incorrect. We have some lovely parting gifts. :)

    The decision that the FCC handed down is NOT a modem tax, it's a regulation on how billing of calls to ISPs are handled between telcos. It does not say that ISPs are going to charge/minute of connection. It only involves contracts between telcos, and reciprocal billing between telcos for completing a connection across telephone infrastructures. Normally, "local" calls do not involve reciprocal charges, since it's assumed that there will be an equal number of calls in each direction; therefore only the call source's telco pays for completing the connection. Not so for ISPs, and long distance, where the number of calls varies so the telcos involved split the charges. It also is counter to the ruling several states made, which states that such calls should be treated as local (i.e. no reciprocal billing).
    Unfortunately, this'll probably end up as a surcharge to an ISP's monthly rates, so it's the consumer who's going to get screwed in the end. Business as usual, I guess...

  • Thank goodness I have a cable modem, because if I had to put up with something like this, it would really suck. For those people who have available broadband access, but haven't jumped on board because of costs, this could make switching a whole lot more attractive.

    You know, I used to be all for capitalism, but anymore it seems like everyday I get hit with one more illustration of why it's not a good idea. Not quite sure what could effectively replace it, but it apparently is NOT working for the benefit of the majority of us.
  • WTF are you talking about? Of course you're connected whenever it's on. How the fuck do you expect it to work? If you can't cope w/ securing it then unplug the damn ethernet cable unless you want to connect.
  • What I don't understand is why you are all making such a fuss about it. This is the daily bread for internet users in other parts of the world, I mean.. if you want something good, you PAY for it. The capitalists you claim you are should damn well follow your capitalistic spirit and pay for your phonerate and be happy about it. Freebies are for communists! YES I consider $20/month or whatever the phonecompany bills you A FREEBIE if you get local calls for free.
    Then again most of you don't think that far ahead, paying the phonecompany could help YOU in the future.
    Who knows, maybe Europe will take the lead in internet usage when the Americas lose their advantage. At least I'll be hoping that this reduces bandwidth-wasting JUNK on the Net.

  • not my country, ergo not my problem.

  • by tgd ( 2822 )
    I could be wrong but I think everyone may be misinterpreting this one. My understanding was this moves calls through your local telco to your ISP into the same classification as a call through your telco to a long distance provider, it does NOT make the calls long distance, it just lets telcos choose to bill ISP's for the traffic they cause, which they won't necessarily do. Any telco that has its own internet service would be shooting themselves in the foot since they'd have to bill the usage back to themselves at the same rate.

    I can spend $25 a month and get unlimited calls on Sprint on the weekends, so the rates telcos are charging long distance companies for access through their CO's can't be that high.

    I also think that billing in that manner to an ISP would mean that they can't charge for the line itself into the ISP but I could be wrong about that. If an ISP is paying $40 a month per line or circuit on a T1, then usage charges might not be much more per line except in unusual cases.

    If that's the case, and this is really what the classification change means then I'd guess only very high usage people even have a chance of being affected. And someone who really has a valid reason to tie up their internet line 16 hours a day ought to have enough reason to pay $300 or $400 a month for a frame relay connection if cable, xDSL or other technology isn't available.

    Anyone know anything more specific about this?
  • by tgd ( 2822 )
    Come on people, lets make some effort to understand the issue before spouting off on it. Admittedly I didn't read the FCC release before posting my last comment on this, but what I said in it was essentially correct.

    This has *nothing* to do with making ISP calls long distance, it just a simple ruling allowing telcos to choose if they desire to set up a reciprocal billing arrangement with ISPs (presumably larger ISPs) within their service area that they are providing lines to.

    This doesn't mean you get billed per minute, it just means they have flexibility in how they choose to bill the line usage to the ISP.

    They can, for example, class the incoming lines as inter-carrier lines, allowing them to be billed for usage rather than end-point charges.

    And its not a requirement its just a clarification of their position on it. If I run fiber between two cities myself (ie, I own the fiber and I'm leasing the pole or line space underground) then I typically need those sort of reciprocal agreements with the carriers who are going to gateway traffic to my line in both terminating ends.

    I don't think this is nearly as big of a deal as people have been making it out to be for the last six months that the rumor about this was going around. Some telcos may choose to gouge ISPs with these prices, but most probably won't charge anything. The release also made it seem like the actual situation would be based on the way existing reciprocal agreements within the state are handled.

    I still wish I didn't need to use a telco though :)
  • At least when I worked for a regulated utility (not telecom admittedly), our charter of service included an obligation to serve. Not an obligation to serve based on certain historical usage patterns that tended to maximize our profit: just a plain old obligation to serve. If usage patterns changed (and they did), we also had the obligation to figure out how to meet the new pattern and still make a profit. If we could convince the regulatory body that a rate increase was justified to handle that, great. If not - belt tightening time.

    Also, if a telco make the "changing usage pattern" argument, it also opens itself up to the "what is your profit margin on T1 service today as compared to 10 years ago" question. Oddly enough no one at the Baby Bells seems real anxious to take on that question.

  • To quote From http://w ww.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/News_Releases/19 99/nrcc9014.html [fcc.gov] FCC ADOPTS ORDER ADDRESSING DIAL-UP INTERNET TRAFFIC

    This means that those consumers who continue to access the Internet by dialing a seven-digit number will not incur long distance charges when they do so.

    Generally, new entrants to the local telephone business contend that calls to ISPs are local traffic and, therefore, subject to reciprocal compensation. Incumbent local telephone companies, on the other hand, generally contend that calls to ISPs are interstate in nature and that they are, therefore, beyond the scope of reciprocal compensation agreements.

    This is the second story in a row that has been posted to /. that is substantially wrong.
  • I agree! Where is the F*cking Service?? In New York, Time Warner (the cable TV equivalent of Microsoft) doesn't offer Cable modem access. RCN is here, but they don't provide Cable TV or Modem services outside of Manhattan.

    Where I live in Queens, Bell Atlantic doesn't offer DSL, Only ISDN, which would cost me somewhere around $450 to get it installed, and about $30-$40 extra on top of my monthly phone bill.

    I'm so jealous of some of my co-workers who have ADSL where they live in (Northern) New Jersey.

    I'm still chugging along at 33.6 waiting.....
  • Since it appears no one has bothered to read the
    FCC announcement, I quote a piece of it here:

    This means that those consumers who continue to access the Internet by dialing a seven-digit number will not incur long distance charges when they do so.

    This was available from the index page of the FCC
    website. It appears that this is aimed at the
    baby bells and such, rather than us poor bandwidth
    sucking Slashdot Longhairs.
  • I pay more than $50 for my telephone and $20 for my ISP. The last thing I need is an additional charge for my per/minute Internet access. I telecommute and average 16 hours of connect time per day, seven days per week, every week of the year. Even a small charge would add up for me.

    This is something we don't need. Unless, of course, we want to limit information and access to free speech to only those above a certain income level. Honestly, I already pay for my phone. How many times do they need to charge me for the same service?

  • Sure, if you don't mind giving up your privacy to email, having your email address given to spammers, and having your Internet usage and selections tracked and profiled.

    Reference the ZDNET article that I sent to Rob yesterday: Privacy Concerns Over TCI@Home [zdnet.com]

  • Did you actually visit the FCC site?

    1) Gather information.
    2) Process information (ie. think)
    3) React/Speak.

  • So who's gonna orgainize it? I can host if somebody else wants to set a date. When's the date that this thing is likely to start having an impact. It should be done before then, of course. But then... hasn't it already gone into effect? Either way, we'd need at least a month in which to publiscize and get everything/everyone orgainized.
    It could be like the refund day on a whole different level.
    Anyway, I do not have the time to do this all on my own but I'd love to help out. Somebody mail me and/or set up a mailing list (or just keep up this thread) and maybe we can get something rolling.
  • Screw the government. It wasn't their idea.

    Umm.. While I may aggree with you that this aint' great, I've got to nitpick here and point out that actualy it was the government's idea. Didn't the Internet start with ARPAnet?
  • I hope everybody here who'd taken the time to complain about this here has also taken the time to do so where it counts. If you live in America, let these people know what's up!

    But, as I'm sure you've all heard before with things like this, flames don't help causes. They only hurt them. Be polite, explain the situation and your distaste for it. Not knowing all the ramifications of their descision I didn't even ask them to overturn it, merely to reword it in such a way that phone companies are not given the ability to charge for services that they are not rendering.

    Mail them. Now.
  • Don't be Stupid. You do that and any positive reaction that we could hope for goes out the window.

    Think about it. FCC person finds his net access screwed or his emailbox bombed. What's he going to say? "Gee, a bunch of script kiddies are being dicks. I should rethink that whole long distance announcement".

    For the love of whatever you love, don't do this.
  • The FCC people's email addresses were posted earlier. DO IT.
  • by Nermal ( 7573 )
    Need I say? This could blow... a lot. However, there's a couple of things to be considered here: If phone carriers decide to start charging per-minute rates on Internet access, all it would take is one upstart company who decides *not* to do so and they could have customers beating down the door, so maybe it won't fly AND could give new companies a foot in the door.
    What really sucks here is that fact that, while the data does travel a long distance, IT DOES NOT DO IT VIA THE PHONE COMPANIES EQUIPMENT. The high-capacity data lines that an ISP uses, afaik could be laid by any number of comanies. Aside from that, it eventualy gets to a backbone provider which (again afaik) has nothing to do with the phone company and that's where most of the long distance travel comes in, right?
    The phone company would be charging for the use of equipment that is not theirs! Unless I'm seriously wrong with my reasoning (please point it out if I am) how could anybody even consider that acceptable?
  • This one might have to be an email campaign... it would be pretty funny if they log on, open up pine/Netscape Mail/MS Outlook/foo and have SEVERAL THOUSAND email messages come in... and at the end, a simple, sweet message that we would all like to deliver...

    Aren't you glad that you don't have to
    pay to download this?

    Personally, I think that if they catch wind of this, they'll set up something to filter email or change the email address temporarily...

  • Does the FCC have a habit of posting 'Urban Legends' on their webpage?
  • You know, I used to like this country. Don't get me wrong, I'm patriotic, I respect the foundations that America has been built on. However, I no longer respect the people put in charge to enforce those foundations. The society we live in is now revolving around the dollar. It's now gotten to the point where even the Government doesn't care about the people, but are only interested in getting a hefty paycheck.

    The way I see it, is that the FCC has a theroritical monopoly over communication in the United States. Granted, this is a Federal bureau, however If the FCC was a business (which it looks to me like that's what it has turned into) this would constitute a monopoly. They are THE Federal Communications Commission. There is no alternative to them. You are Forced to abide by what they say and that's it. (This also brings up the point of multiple governments, but that's stupid, so let's not get into that. This is an EXAMPLE.)

    Just my opinion here. I think it's bullshit what the FCC is trying to pull. Time to get your word processor out and start writing bitch letters. I Intend to do so. Peace.
  • i rember this same sorta thing being pulled back in the prime of the BBS days, they wanted to make calling a BBS like a long distance number. as phone companies said that the calls were using thier equptment too much or some crap. all i see are money hungry bastards. good thing im moving to ADSL

  • *cough* you mean DARPA, the D (for defense)
    was later dropped to help public relations.
    Can't forget that the military was
    a big player in the development of the net.
  • Exactly! If the FCC is going to be shortsighted enough to push Internet users into the hands of the cable industry then so be it, but they have to shut the hell up about it when they p*ss away their revenue stream.
  • This is not a matter of the phone companys charging ISPs or local users LD rates. This effects the money that competing local telephone providers (like BellSouth and e.spire) pay to each other when people make local calls that go to another phone provider. They don't pay each other to connect long-distance calls, so this actually is a reduction in the fees paid by local carriers to each other.
  • I'm glad I moved to Canada 6 months ago. The currency rate/economy might be bad, but this is worth it.

  • News.com also ran this story, http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,32789,00.html?st .ne.fd.mdh , they have a better summary of what it will effect. Here is a bit of that story.

    At stake are millions of dollars per year paid to small telephone companies under contracts dubbed "reciprocal compensation."

    The contracts govern who pays who when a customer makes a call. If a Bell Atlantic customer calls an e.spire communications customer under this system, Bell Atlantic would pay e.spire for completing that call.

    When these contracts were signed, largely in the wake of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, local phone companies thought they would come out ahead since they controlled the vast majority of local phone lines.

    But many small phone companies began signing up ISPs for service. The ISPs receive many calls, but place very few--resulting in the imbalance that favors the small telcos.

    The Baby Bells and GTE have pressed the FCC to rule that calls to ISPs are long distance, since this would exempt the calls from the reciprocal compensation contracts.


    They also note though that this could eventually mean bad news for consumers. Again from the article

    But the decision was made under protest by one commissioner, who has argued that it could inadvertently open up the possibility for courts to impose per-minute access charges on ISPs.

    Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth had asked to delay the decision by at least another three weeks to study this issue. But Kennard denied that request, saying commissioners had already waited too long.

    "I believe that part of operating efficiently is being decisive," Kennard said. "We owe the marketplace a decision."

  • Duh...the flat rate for telecommunications is one of the prime reasons the Internet is such a success in the U.S.

    Also, this threatens to further enlarge the gap between the technological haves from the havenots.

    I wonder how much the bribe was...
  • From the FCC Web site:

    The Chairman and the
    Commissioners invite you to contact them via Email at the following addresses:

    Chairman William Kennard: wkennard@fcc.gov [mailto]
    Commissioner Susan Ness: sness@fcc.gov [mailto]
    Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth: hfurchtg@fcc.gov [mailto]
    Commissioner Michael Powell: mpowell@fcc.gov [mailto]
    Commissioner Gloria Tristani: gtristan@fcc.gov [mailto]
  • We have run into the results of this already with GTE. GTE has declared us to be an IXC (Inter-eXchange-Carrier) and has prohibited us from purchasing any services that are local-tarrifs, including partial T1 circuits. I have 25 partial T1's already, but I can't purchase any more period. I can't move them, I can't change them, I can't touch them at all except to pull them out.

    This ruling says that you can't be charged long distance on your PHONE BILL. However, the telco can go to court now and claim that since the FCC declared ISPs to be IXC's, they should be charged the same as Sprint, MCI, or other long distance carriers for each minute of access that the ISP uses on the TELCO network. Based on an ISP with 100 phone lines:

    100 lines * 60 minutes= 6,000 line-minutes per hour

    6,000 line-minutes * 5 hours of peak time (6pm-11pm) = 30,000 line minutes for peak

    50% usage for the rest of the day, 3,000*19=57,000 line minutes non-peak

    57,000+30,000=87,000 line minutes * .03/minute = $2,610.00/day * 30 days per month = $78,300 per month in usage. No ISP in existance can afford to absorb those charges and still provide flat rate. Assuming a 10:1 user ratio, the ISP should have 1000 customers. The average customer would have a $79 usage portion of their bill along with the standard $20 base rate.

    This ruling doesn't do the above, it just opens to door for a future COURT case to open it. This is a form of incrementalism. These rulings are only the opening moves on a chess board. Once the pieces are in place, one move and checkmate.

    Not good.

  • The exemption that you are describing was put in place in the late 80's or early 90's. At the time, it was felt that modems and other data communications services needed to be protected. Since then, the telcos have been working to remove this restriction. Since Reed Hunt left the FCC, along with 5 other members of the FCC board, the FCC has been more than happy to do what ever the telco's want. There is NO leadership at the FCC at this time. They are only reacting to what is placed before them.

    I realise that before the per-minute charges go into effect, congress will probably pass a law, but with all of the money the telcos can spread, do you think it will be able to get through congress?
  • I visited the FCC website and read the following mission statement:

    The mission of this independent government agency is to encourage competition in all communications markets and to protect the public interest.

    What appears to be the intention of the ruling is to protect telephone companies from the competition posed by email and other forms of internet communication, such as internet telephony. It is unclear how the public interest is served by this ruling.

    Why is the FCC chartered to "encourage competition"? I can only guess at the original intent of the charter, but my suspicion is that it is because competition is a reliable method of ensuring the highest quality of goods and services at the lowest price, consistent with the other goal "to protect the public interest".

    By artificially raising the entry barrier to the internet for no good reason, this ruling also discourages advancement in the communication arts, by reducing the accessibility of the internet to those who would otherwise work as hobbyists to develop software and user interfaces, or act as testers for such developers.

    The FCC should either change its mission statement to accurately reflect its updated(?) mission or it should act in accordance with the mission statement under which it was originally instituted.

  • From the FCC Press Release: "FCC ADOPTS ORDER ADDRESSING DIAL-UP INTERNET TRAFFIC FCC Lets States Decide Whether Existing Interconnections ..."

    I personally don't understand the implications of this ruling at all. But, you can still lobby your state PUC memberst to make sure that no decision is made that would raise the cost of Internet access (and I'm not sure if this decision will).

    However, if you live in a payola backwater (many state PUCs are just Bell front organizations), too bad for you.
  • It really has nothing to do with ISPs. It has to do with reciprocal payments that phone companies must pay each other to use each others equipment/lines. The only "ISPs" it actually affects are the ones that are also phone companies and it only affects them in that their deal isn't as sweet as it was before.

    It's amazing how many knee-jerk reactions a "news" posting like this can generate on slashdot. Rob even seemed to get a little knee-jerky himself. I am usually more impressed with his style then that. I am disappointed.
  • that if the ISP crosses a state line (as mine does) between their local dial-up and their main center, then the ISP will incur a long-distance charge... Which I'm sure they're more than happy to pass onto their subscribers.

    Now, if the ISP has a leased line, and the cost doesn't increase.. GREAT! But no business is going to eat a cost increase in favor of it's customer.

    Just as with the cigarette tax, it's the customer that will end up paying the difference.
  • Arguing that we shouldn't be charged for excessive usage simply because the telco's equipment has already been purchased is like saying that people should be given free admission to an empty movie theater simply because the movie will be playing regardless of attendance.

    The economy simply doesn't work this way. Telephone companies are in business to make as much of a profit as they possibly can, not to break even every quarter. I see nothing wrong with charging more for someone who uses their phone line 20 hours a day than someone who uses it for 45 minutes a day. They are dedicating more of their assets to the high-use person and can collect additional fees as a result.

  • The link you put up was to something talking about modem taxes. This isn't a modem tax. This is about treating local calls to an ISP as long distance calls.
    Maybe you should read the article before calling us all morons, hmm?
  • http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Common_Carrier/News_Rel eases/1999/nrcc9014.html
    Try reading the report.
    This is not about ISP's or internet access, it is about phone companies. When a new telco comes into a local area and competes for local service, they sign agreements to pay each other for compleeting local calls. So, I'm in Bell Atlantics region (ick) and joeblow phone company offers alternative local service. When I call somebody joeblow telco provides service for, from a Bell Atlantic serviced phone , Bell atlantic pays joeblow a certian amount for compleeting the call. When someone using joeblow calls a bellatlantic customer, joeblow pays Bell At. for completion.
    Some of the compeeting telco's got the bright idea to market to ISP.s, who don't make many cals, but get a lot. So, the RBOC's end up paying out loads of cash to the competitor, who does not pay them much since it's customers are not making calls.
    This ruling is about that. By determining that calls to ISP's are mixed in nature, and subject to federal jurisdiction (rather than that of lacal Public Utility COmmissions) they FCC clears the way for RBOC's to renegotiate the contract terms with the alternative locval providers that are making a lot of moneyu out of a loophole.
    This has jack to do with your access.
  • Were you born this stupid and ignorant, or did you have to work at it?
    Go read what it says. read it. figure out what it really means, then eat the working end of a 12 gauge.
    There cannot be any per minute or per call cost passed along to the consumer or ISP. Hell, the decision is highly prelim,and does not even decide the issue in favor of the RBOC's, you stupid twat, it simply passes the ball back to the local PUC's, and indicates that some level of Federal jurisdiction may end up existing. That's all.
    So, while you are hiding under your bed from the white van's and black helicopters, try learning a littel bit about how things really work.
  • about the bad things your dad has been doing to you in bed at night, but that's no excuse for rampant stupidity.
    This decision is about reciprocation betwen phone companies. It's not anythingthat will have zip to do with end users. In this, the ISP is as much of an end user as you are.
    Look sweety, if you get out of high school, mybe one day you will learn what all the big hard words mean, and how things work out in the wolrd. 'till then, I hope you keep dad happy so you can keep playing on his WebTV.
  • The Philadelphia area will also soon be 10 digits. It's really funny, they split up the 215 area code a few years ago into 610 and 215 saying the new numbers would last another 30 years. It's been about 6 and they are almost out. So now we get two new area codes AND 10 digit phone numbers. Go progress.
  • Read it straight from the FCC notice [fcc.gov] dated today:

    In response to requests by carriers that the Commission clarify how local telephone companies should compensate one another for delivering traffic to Internet service providers, the Commission today concluded that carriers are bound by their existing interconnection agreements, as interpreted by state commissions, and thus are subject to reciprocal compensation obligations to the extent provided by such agreements or as determined by state commissions. The Commission declared that Internet traffic is jurisdictionally mixed and appears to be largely interstate in nature. But the decision preserves the rule that exempts the Internet and other information services from interstate access charges. This means that those consumers who continue to access the Internet by dialing a seven-digit number will not incur long distance charges when they do so. In a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Commission also asked for comment on proposals governing future carrier-to-carrier compensation for handling this traffic.

    Then make up your own mind.
  • Name a long distance telco company (at least in the US) that *DOESN'T* provide internet access? Right, all the big long distance telco's already make extra money off of internet calls, especially since lots of them bill with obscene hourly rates. Also, how will they define 'ISP'? If my neighbor has a cable modem, or other high speed access system, and I agree to pay for part of his ISP bills if I can dial up my hypothetical 56K modem to his machine to get on the net, is the call between us now going to be billed long distance because he is providing me with internet access?
  • This doesn't sound like a decision on long-distance from a user's point of view. It sounds like the old argument about under what circumstances, when a caller on Telco A's network places a call to someone served by Telco B, B owes A for routing the call to them. Also, according to the ruling [fcc.gov], the existing agreements on reciprocal compensation still apply and the state PUC still has the final say in the matter. Sounds like a lot of uproar over very little.

  • Like I really need any more reason to go with a cable modem! The fact that modems are so SLOW is reason enough!!!

    Unfortunately, I would have to move to do it! Since cable modem connections probably won't be in my town for several years....ugh.
  • --snip--
    those consumers who continue to access the internet by dialing a seven-digit number will not incur long distance charges when they do so

    It's a good thing that these charges will actually apply to the ISP not the end user. In the Chicagoland area people will soon have to dial the full ten-digit number to call the nieghbors.

    Of course the ISPs will probably raise rates if this ends up costing them money. If the rates get to high.

    More reason to get DSL or Cable. DSL is getting cheap out here anyway.
  • Something not many people know. In the UK, there are no such things as free local calls. Our main telco, BT, charges approx 4 pence per minute weekdays, 1.5 pence at night, and 1 pence per minute. But on the plus side, the UK has, say, 20 free ISPs (free as in FREE, all you pay is the local calls). There is some benfit in this for the low internet user, but you guys should stop complaining like it is your right. The charges should reflect network usage.

    Oh yeah, sorry if this has all been said before, I don't have time to read 100+ comments - I'm paying for it all :)
    --Remove SPAM from my address to mail me
  • From your house is the local-loop, the only dedicated line you have. From the first phone switch, your calls are routed onto a limited number of lines to central switches. Suppose there's a few hundred customers on the switch, they have maybe a couple o' dozen lines out the back. It's called circuit-switching.

    The average length of a voice call is about 6min, so the many->few reduction worked until ISP calls went up to many hours long. In some parts of the country, you can't make a local call at peak net surfing times.

    The technology to alleviate the problem exists. You simply use the SS7 (inter-switch) protocol to recognize a call to a modem and terminate the call in a virtual modem in the local switch. Then, the IP traffic can be packet-switched to whomever it's directed.

    Your phone company is not interested in a solution, they just want more money and are using this as an excuse.

    It's like smart-cards - no reason for the banks to issue them, they just jack-up interest rates on everyone else to pay for fraud. In Europe, where people use debit cards and don't run up bills, they issue smart cards. Smart, huh?
  • Thanks for the e-mail addresses. My guess is that their mail server will die within the hour.

    In reading the entire text of the Press Release [fcc.gov] several unobvious items came to mind. [Please comment if you are reading something different into the texts]. First, it basically left intact whatever agreements had been previously reached between ISP's and phone companies -- regarding the rates they charge each other, or as regulated by state commissions. Which I think means that it preserves alot of the status quo.

    Where it seems dangerous is that (quoting) "a state commission, in the exercise of its statutory authority under sections 251 and 252 of the Act to arbitrate interconnection disputes, may have imposed reciprocal compensation obligations for this traffic." And check this out: "Resolution of failures to reach agreement on inter-carrier compensation for interstate ISP-bound traffic then would occur through arbitrations conducted by state commissions, which are appealable to federal district courts.

    Just what we need. A bunch of bureaucrats and attorneys haggling over what is essentially the future of the Internet here in the US.

    Finally, it also acknowledged that there needs to be a better federal law governing the Internet than the one they are operating under. So it seems to me that aside from the obvious rant to the FCC, we Internet users and all of the ISP's here in the USA really need to concentrate their lobbying efforts and resources on making sure that local public service commissions and Congress do the right thing for the little folks for a change.

    Let's all work this one to death, folks.

  • From CNET's coverage:

    The commissioners took pains to emphasize that their decision would not affect consumers' Internet phone bills.

    "It doesn't affect the way consumers get dialup access to Internet," said chairman William Kennard. "Nothing we're doing here should be construed as regulating the Internet."
  • God forbid that you should live off campus, where *you* are responsible for your own housing, rather than complain about the people who manage the housing you chose to live in.

    -The Cheese
  • I would have very little problem with this if everybody had the same cable deal. The problem is some of us are being held hostage by our cable companies. The cable industry is worse than Microsoft!! The cable industry is by far the most corrupt industry in America. I hope I'm offending people. Why should I be charged this rate when I have no other option but dial-up ISP. It will make dial-up ISP more money than cable modems. This penalizes people whose cable companies are treating them like crap and won't give them cable modems. This is an outrage!!! Now I'm going to flame my cable company until they install cable modems. Of course we are the lowest priority for them of their districts and don't even have a contract. We won't be getting cable until at least 2001, while all the people in surrounding districts already have them. This is an outrage!!!
  • I agree this is an outrage if you can't get a cable modem. They'll be charging people who are being screwed by their cable companies more money than those who are getting good deals.
  • Bribes. Oh sorry, "Campaign contributions."

    AT&T et al. bribe Congress, who funds the FCC. If the bribes dry up, so does the funding. On the other hand, maybe the FCC has decided that cablecos are the future, and figures they'll bribe Congress even more than the telcos.

  • Sure, if you don't mind giving up your privacy to email, having your email address given to spammers, and having your Internet usage and selections tracked and profiled. Reference the ZDNET article that I sent to Rob yesterday: Privacy Concerns Over TCI@Home Um...not all of us use @home. Check that e-mail address up there...rr.com is RoadRunner. And do you not realize that *all* ISPs can monitor you in this manner? You use their servers, so what you xmit and receive are fair game. And you consent to it when you sign up. Stop your bitching...if you don't want to be tracked, you can try to hunt down an ISP who explicitly states that it will *never* follow your activities. You'll find this nearly impossible. Mike
  • I had no idea my area (Tampa Bay [mapquest.com]) was so lucky. $40/month for unlimited access @ 10Mb/s. They even (unofficially) support Linux.


  • All the more reason to go with a cable modem.
  • I don't see the point. Does anyone have any intelligent opinions as to why this decision was made? Is the only possible conclusion that of bribery?

    Makes me glad I live on campus... Ah... ethernet...

  • I don't see that the FCC ruling has any effect on my tuition... My school has something on the order of two T3's to Sprintlink, with three T1's on MCI, and another totally seperate connection to the Internet2. No phone calls involved!

    That's not to say they won't raise tuition, just that it won't have anything to do with this...
  • At least mine is. Upstream is "only" 128k, tho'.
  • If you go to the fcc's website it doesn't suck as much as you first think. The suckiness begins if you dial more than 7 digits to access your isp. So this means all local isp's are unaffected, so if you dial a local isp (7 digit dialing) they cannot assess long distance charges, it states it right in the press release, so at least i can still have my cheap internet access yay
  • If you read the text of the actual document, other than letting the state commissions make their own rules, there is nothing too sinister here. The FCC is actually CLOSING a way for the RBOCs to charge extra for ISPs.

    Long Distance charges, if any, come from a long distance company. So, if you get any new charges for "Long Distance" internet access, they would have to be implimented by your own ISP. We'll see if that happens.
  • Shucks, leave it to the FCC to ruine my day. Guess I'll just have to get a cable modem...wait, they dont offer them in my area. 'Tupid backwoods of Louisiana =\
  • Ultimately these new regulations will increase costs to local ISP's phone bills and will have to be passed along to the consumer. Switching to cable modems for fast access will help eliminate the local ISP's as well. When our only choice is cable or DSL from the local telco the rates will go through the roof. Local ISP's have always held the cost of Internet access down and when the competition is gone I expect to see a bill for monthly data transfer which would eliminate Net access for most of us! Start thinking about microwave horns, 256K and no wires or modems. You will still be able to choose your ISP which will keep competition alive and your flat rate access will continue.
  • no, you are wrong. it will be labeled long distance, but we wont be charged. damn i hate these idiots who know nothing and post. btw, i know cause my brother works for my isp.
  • no, the person will switch isp's and get a cable modem, all the isp's offering dialup only will die. but don't worry this isn't what you people think, you wont get charged for the calls to your isp. sheesh.
  • why don't you goto news.com (a real news site), they explain it in lamens terms.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.