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October 10, 2009


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Andy Abramson


You're right. Not all of them are. However the approach being followed, of investigation, vs. rewriting the rules is much to do about nothing.

The real culprit is not GV or Google.

Richard Bennett

There's a bigger picture here. Rural settlement fees are one of the legacy regulations that need to be adjusted or eliminated to remove barriers to VoIP adoption. This issue gives the FCC a pretext for reviewing this problem in order to speed up the replacement of the PSTN by VoIP. The people who work for the FCC aren't fools; at least not all of them.


AT&T appears to want the government to protect them from anyone who replaces their services piecemeal, and to establish that anyone who challenges them should be forced to offer a comprehensive selection as well. That is a ridiculously high bar to reach, and requires a lot of money, influence and opportunity which companies like AT&T could easily squelch. Without this obviously anti-capitalist protection for their business plan, AT&T will lose business to competitors who provide comparable services more cheaply... exactly the way our market system should work.

What the heck is it with corporations today? Any time their business is no longer as profitable as they desire, they would rather warp the fabric of our justice system, than to evolve their business plan! Apparently, it's far easier for them to bribe a congressman.

My hope is that the reason the FCC responded to this issue is because they saw it was a trivial issue they could slap down quickly.


I don’t claim to know all the details of this particular battle and gaming. It’s just too easy to get caught up in the details and lose sight of the fact that it’s all for naught. This kind of gaming belongs in the casino not in the heart of our economy. The tragedy is that so much effort is going into inflicting harm on ourselves by denying us the ability to use what we already have by locking it solidly within the grasp of bizarre and counter-productive models created be economists and lawyers.

It reminds me of the days at Interactive Data when we replaced the virtual machine I/O [input/output] emulation with direct calls to the operating system thus improving efficiency by a large factor, perhaps hundreds. To “compensate” those new operations were priced to match the old costs measured in seconds. Thus an I/O loop could run up a bill that charged you for far more “seconds” than what would be on the clock.

At least it was simple and consistent unlike the telecom games that economists play. We’re doing our damdest to stay mired in 1800’s telegraphy no matter much it is at odds with reality. The danger of this kind of gaming is that it discourages rational investment and rational policies. Where is the FTC when we need it – shouldn’t it be questioning such harmful practices? I expect less of the SEC.

We need to remember that back in the early 1980’s ATT predicted voice revenue would go to zero. It’s thirty years later and rather than ask why we are still paying for voice bits we seem to punishing those expose a system that is structurally corrupt. Why are we so intent on punishing ourselves?

Is there anyone at the FCC who is willing to stand up and say that this whole system is dysfunctional and harmful? Of course that raises the question of why the FCC’s entire Regulatorium?


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