rural desertAT&T puts universal service repeal in state budget. Buy or build a new home in about 25% of the state of Ohio (by area) and your only way to make a phone call or connect to the Internet will be satellite, which sucks. That will reduce fsd

98% of the U.S. by population may well have a wireless signal but the remaining 1-2% of population is spread over 10-30% of the territory. No one has solid data except the phone companies. The 25% figure is an estimate from Ohio Consumer Counsel Gene Krebs.

AT&T & Verizon make more money on rural wireless than they do on landlines so plans to shut down > 10M lines as soon as practical. There's almost always spare capacity on rural wireless networks, typically lightly loaded.

There's a minimum capacity required to cover the territory which generally is more than enough. All big carriers have large blocks of unused spectrum that can be inexpensively put to use if needed.

Most of the rural lines remain profitable, evidenced by many smaller carriers making money. However, AT&T and Verizon believe they make more money from customers who moved from wired to wireless than if they maintained both systems. Once a rural area is covered with wireless, the cost to add more customers is negligible. Effective margins are over 90% in many cases.

AT&T says they will continue service to customers who now have lines but the fine print makes that dubious. People wanting to keep their lines will need at least three proceedings by the state regulator, with rules that may be too much for some people. If you don't apply at least 90 days in advance, you may be out of luck. There's no provision for amy new homes.

AT&T persuaded some friendly politicians to include this in the state budget so it's probably unstoppable.

This article was inspired by Jim Otte's article, Ohio may allow phone companies to end landline service. The whole section of the budget is below.

 

STATE BUDGET

 

Sec. 4927.01. (A) As used in this chapter: (1) "Basic local exchange service" means residential-end-user access to Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1771 and usage of telephone-company-provided services over a single line or small-business-end-user access to and usage of telephone-company-provided services over the primary access line of service, which in the case of residential and small-business access and usage is not part of a bundle or package of services, that does both of the following: (a) Enables a customer to originate or receive voice communications within a local service area as that area exists on September 13, 2010, the effective date of the amendment of this section by S.B. 162 of the 128th general assembly or as that area is changed with the approval of the public utilities commission; (b) Consists of all of the following services: (i) Local dial tone service; (ii) For residential end users, flat-rate telephone exchange service; (iii) Touch tone dialing service; (iv) Access to and usage of 9-1-1 services, where such services are available; (v) Access to operator services and directory assistance; (vi) Provision of a telephone directory in any reasonable format for no additional charge and a listing in that directory, with reasonable accommodations made for private listings; (vii) Per call, caller identification blocking services; (viii) Access to telecommunications relay service; and (ix) Access to toll presubscription, interexchange or toll providers or both, and networks of other telephone companies. "Basic local exchange service" excludes any voice service to which customers are transitioned following a withdrawal of basic local exchange service under section 4927.10 of the Revised Code. (2) "Bundle or package of services" means one or more telecommunications services or other services offered together as one service option at a single price. (3) "Carrier access" means access to and usage of telephone company-provided facilities that enable end user customers originating or receiving voice grade, data, or image communications, over a local exchange telephone company network operated within a local service area, to access interexchange or other networks and includes special access. (4) "Federal poverty level" means the income level represented by the poverty guidelines as revised annually by the United States department of health and human services in accordance with section 673(2) of the "Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981," 95 Stat. 511, 42 U.S.C. 9902, as Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1772 amended, for a family size equal to the size of the family of the person whose income is being determined. (5) "Incumbent local exchange carrier" means, with respect to an area, the local exchange carrier that: (a) On February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in such area; and (b)(i) On February 8, 1996, was deemed to be a member of the exchange carrier association pursuant to 47 C.F.R. 69.601(b); or (ii) Is a person or entity that, on or after February 8, 1996, became a successor or assign of a member described in division (A)(5)(b)(i) of this section. (6) "Internet protocol-enabled services" means any services, capabilities, functionalities, or applications that are provided using internet protocol or a successor protocol to enable an end user to send or receive communications in internet protocol format or a successor format, regardless of how any particular such service is classified by the federal communications commission, and includes voice over internet protocol service. (7) "Interstate-access component" means the portion of carrier access that is within the jurisdiction of the federal communications commission. (8) "Local exchange carrier" means any person engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service, or the offering of access to telephone exchange service or facilities for the purpose of originating or terminating telephone toll service. (8)(9) "Local service area" means the geographic area that may encompass more than one exchange area and within which a telephone customer, by paying the rate for basic local exchange service, may complete calls to other telephone customers without being assessed long distance toll charges. (9)(10) "Small business" means a nonresidential service customer with three or fewer service access lines. (10)(11) "Telecommunications" means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received. (11)(12) "Telecommunications carrier" has the same meaning as in the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 60, 47 U.S.C. 153. (12)(13) "Telecommunications service" means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1773 facilities used. (13)(14) "Telephone company" means a company described in division (A) of section 4905.03 of the Revised Code that is a public utility under section 4905.02 of the Revised Code. (14)(15) "Telephone exchange service" means telecommunications service that is within a telephone exchange, or within a connected system of telephone exchanges within the same exchange area operated to furnish to subscribers intercommunicating service of the character ordinarily furnished by a single exchange, and that is covered by the exchange service charge; or comparable service provided through a system of switches, transmission equipment, or other facilities, or combination thereof, by which a customer can originate and terminate a telecommunications service. (15)(16) "Telephone toll service" means telephone service between stations in different exchange areas for which there is made a separate charge not included in contracts with customers for exchange service. (16)(17) "Voice over internet protocol service" means a service that uses a broadband connection from an end user's location and enables real-time, two-way, voice communications that originate or terminate from the user's location using internet protocol or a successor protocol, including, but not limited to, any such service that permits an end user to receive calls from and terminate calls to the public switched network. (17)(18) "Voice service" includes all of the applicable functionalities described in 47 C.F.R. 54.101(a). "Voice service" is not the same as basic local exchange service. (19) "Wireless service" means federally licensed commercial mobile service as defined in the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 61, 151, 153, 47 U.S.C. 332(d) and further defined as commercial mobile radio service in 47 C.F.R. 20.3. Under division (A)(17)(19) of this section, commercial mobile radio service is specifically limited to mobile telephone, mobile cellular telephone, paging, personal communications services, and specialized mobile radio service provided by a common carrier in this state and excludes fixed wireless service. (18)(20) "Wireless service provider" means a facilities-based provider of wireless service to one or more end users in this state. (B) The definitions of this section shall be applied consistent with the definitions in the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq., as amended, and with federal decisions interpreting those definitions. Sec. 4927.02. (A) It is the policy of this state to: (1) Ensure the availability of adequate basic local exchange service or Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1774 voice service to citizens throughout the state; (2) Provide incentives for competing providers of telecommunications service to provide advanced, high-quality telecommunications service to citizens throughout the state; (3) Rely primarily on market forces, where they exist, to maintain reasonable service levels for telecommunications services at reasonable rates; (4) Encourage innovation in the telecommunications industry and the deployment of advanced telecommunications services; (5) Create a regulatory climate that provides incentives to create and maintain high technology jobs for Ohioans; (6) Promote diversity and options in the supply of telecommunications services and equipment throughout the state; (7) Recognize the continuing emergence of a competitive telecommunications environment through flexible regulatory treatment of telecommunications services where appropriate; (8) Consider the regulatory treatment of competing and functionally equivalent services and, to the extent practicable, provide for equivalent regulation of all telephone companies and services; (9) Not unduly favor or advantage any provider and not unduly disadvantage providers of competing and functionally equivalent services; and (10) Protect the affordability of telephone service for low-income subscribers through the continuation of federal lifeline assistance programs. (B) The public utilities commission shall consider the policy set forth in this section in carrying out this chapter. Sec. 4927.07. (A) A Except as provided under the notice requirements of section 4927.10 of the Revised Code, a telephone company may withdraw any telecommunications service if it gives at least thirty days' prior notice to the public utilities commission and to its affected customers. (B) A Except as provided under the notice requirements of section 4927.10 of the Revised Code, a telephone company may abandon entirely telecommunications service in this state if it gives at least thirty days' prior notice to the commission, to its wholesale and retail customers, and to any telephone company wholesale provider of its services. (C) Divisions (A) and (B) of this section do not apply to any of the following: (1) Basic local exchange service provided by an incumbent local exchange carrier; (2) Pole attachments under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code; Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1775 (3)(2) Conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code; (4)(3) Interconnection and resale agreements approved under the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq., as amended. (D) An Except as provided in section 4927.10 of the Revised Code, an incumbent local exchange carrier may not withdraw or abandon basic local exchange service. (E) A Neither a telephone company nor an incumbent local exchange carrier may not, without first filing a request with the commission and obtaining commission approval, withdraw any tariff filed with the commission for pole attachments or conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code or abandon service provided under that section. Sec. 4927.10. (A) Subject to division (B) of this section, if the federal communications commission adopts an order that allows an incumbent local exchange carrier to withdraw the interstate-access component of its basic local exchange service under 47 U.S.C. 214, neither of the following shall apply, beginning when the order is adopted, with regard to any exchange area in which an incumbent local exchange carrier withdraws that component: (1) The prohibition contained in division (D) of section 4927.07 of the Revised Code against the withdrawal or abandonment of basic local exchange service by an incumbent local exchange carrier, provided that the carrier gives at least one hundred twenty days' prior notice to the public utilities commission and to its affected customers of the withdrawal or abandonment; (2) The requirements contained in division (A) of section 4927.11 of the Revised Code. (B) If a residential customer to whom notice has been given under this section will be unable to obtain reasonable and comparatively priced voice service upon the carrier's withdrawal or abandonment of basic local exchange service, the customer may file a petition with the public utilities commission not later than ninety days prior to the effective date of the withdrawal or abandonment. If a residential customer is identified by the collaborative process established under Section 749.10 of H.B. 64 of the 131st general assembly as a customer who will be unable to obtain reasonable and comparatively priced voice service upon the withdrawal or abandonment of basic local exchange service, that customer shall be treated as though the customer filed a timely petition under this division. (1) The public utilities commission shall issue an order disposing of the Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1776 petition not later than ninety days after the filing of the petition. (a) If the public utilities commission determines after an investigation that no reasonable and comparatively priced voice service will be available to the affected customer at the customer's residence, the public utilities commission shall attempt to identify a willing provider of a reasonable and comparatively priced voice service to serve the customer. (b) If no willing provider is identified, the public utilities commission may order the withdrawing or abandoning carrier to provide a reasonable and comparatively priced voice service to the customer at the customer's residence. (c) The willing provider or the carrier, as applicable, may utilize any technology or service arrangement to provide the voice service. (2) Except as provided in division (B)(2) of this section, an order adopted under division (B)(1)(b) of this section shall not be in effect for more than twelve months after the date that it is issued. If an order is issued under division (B)(1)(b) of this section, the public utilities commission shall evaluate, during the twelve-month period in which the order is effective, whether an alternative reasonable and comparatively priced voice service is found to exist for the affected customer. If no such voice service is available, the public utilities commission may extend the order for one additional twelve-month period. If, at the end of the second twelve-month period, no alternative reasonable and comparatively priced voice service is available, the public utilities commission may order the withdrawing or abandoning carrier to continue to provide a reasonable and comparatively priced voice service to the affected customer at the customer's residence, utilizing any technology or service arrangement to provide the voice service. (3) For purposes of this division, the public utilities commission shall define the term "reasonable and comparatively priced voice service" to include service that provides voice grade access to the public switched network or its functional equivalent, access to 9-1-1, and that is competitively priced, when considering all the alternatives in the marketplace and their functionalities. Sec. 4927.101. (A) Section 4927.10 of the Revised Code and the amendments to sections 4927.01, 4927.02, 4927.07, and 4927.11 of the Revised Code made by H.B. 64 of the 131st general assembly shall not affect any of the following: (1) Any contractual obligation, including agreements under the "Telecommunications Act of 1996," 110 Stat. 56, 47 U.S.C. 251 and 252, as amended; (2) Any right or obligation under federal law or rules; Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1777 (3) The carrier-access requirements under section 4927.15 of the Revised Code; (4) Any right or obligation under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code; (5) Any state law or rule adopted under this title related to wholesale rights or obligations. (B) The amendments to section 4927.15 of the Revised Code made by H.B. 64 of the 131st general assembly shall not affect the obligations and rights described in divisions (A)(1), (2), (4), and (5) of this section. Sec. 4927.11. (A) Except as otherwise provided in this section and section 4927.10 of the Revised Code, an incumbent local exchange carrier shall provide basic local exchange service to all persons or entities in its service area requesting that service, and that service shall be provided on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis. (B)(1) An incumbent local exchange carrier is not obligated to construct facilities and provide basic local exchange service, or any other telecommunications service, to the occupants of multitenant real estate, including, but not limited to, apartments, condominiums, subdivisions, office buildings, or office parks, if the owner, operator, or developer of the multitenant real estate does any of the following to the benefit of any other telecommunications service provider: (a) Permits only one provider of telecommunications service to install the company's facilities or equipment during the construction or development phase of the multitenant real estate; (b) Accepts or agrees to accept incentives or rewards that are offered by a telecommunications service provider to the owner, operator, developer, or occupants of the multitenant real estate and are contingent on the provision of telecommunications service by that provider to the occupants, to the exclusion of services provided by other telecommunications service providers; (c) Collects from the occupants of the multitenant real estate any charges for the provision of telecommunications service to the occupants, including charges collected through rents, fees, or dues. (2) A carrier not obligated to construct facilities and provide basic local exchange service pursuant to division (B)(1) of this section shall notify the public utilities commission of that fact within one hundred twenty days of receiving knowledge thereof. (3) The commission by rule may establish a process for determining a necessary successor telephone company to provide service to real estate described in division (B)(1) of this section when the circumstances described in that division cease to exist. Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1778 (4) An incumbent local exchange carrier that receives a request from any person or entity to provide service under the circumstances described in division (B)(1) of this section shall, within fifteen days of such receipt, provide notice to the person or entity specifying whether the carrier will provide the requested service. If the carrier provides notice that it will not serve the person or entity, the notice shall describe the person's or entity's right to file a complaint with the commission under section 4927.21 of the Revised Code within thirty days after receipt of the notice. In resolving any such complaint, the commission's determination shall be limited to whether any circumstance described in divisions (B)(1)(a) to (c) of this section exists. Upon a finding by the commission that such a circumstance exists, the complaint shall be dismissed. Upon a finding that such circumstances do not exist, the person's or entity's sole remedy shall be provision by the carrier of the requested service within a reasonable time. (C) An incumbent local exchange carrier may apply to the commission for a waiver from compliance with division (A) of this section. The application shall include, at a minimum, the reason for the requested waiver, the number of persons or entities who would be impacted by the waiver, and the alternatives that would be available to those persons or entities if the waiver were granted. The incumbent local exchange carrier applying for the waiver shall publish notice of the waiver application one time in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the service area identified in the application and shall provide additional notice to affected persons or entities as required by the commission in rules adopted under this division. The commission's rules shall define "affected" for purposes of this division. The commission shall afford such persons or entities a reasonable opportunity to comment to the commission on the application. This opportunity shall include a public hearing conducted in accordance with rules adopted under this division and conducted in the service area identified in the application. After a reasonable opportunity to comment has been provided, but not later than one hundred twenty days after the application is filed, the commission either shall issue an order granting the waiver if, upon investigation, it finds the waiver to be just, reasonable, and not contrary to the public interest, and that the applicant demonstrates a financial hardship or an unusual technical limitation, or shall issue an order denying the waiver based on a failure to meet those standards and specifying the reasons for the denial. The commission shall adopt rules to implement division (C) of this section. Sec. 4927.15. (A)(1) The rates, terms, and conditions for 9-1-1 service provided in this state by a telephone company or a telecommunications Am. Sub. H. B. No. 64 131st G.A. 1779 carrier and each of the following provided in this state by a telephone company shall be approved and tariffed in the manner prescribed by rule adopted by the public utilities commission and shall be subject to the applicable laws, including rules or regulations adopted and orders issued by the commission or the federal communications commission: (1) Carrier access; (2)(a) N-1-1 services, other than 9-1-1 service; (3) Pole attachments and conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code; (4)(b) Pay telephone access lines; (5)(c) Toll presubscription; (6)(d) Telecommunications relay service. (2) The rates, terms, and conditions for both of the following provided in this state by a telephone company or an incumbent local exchange carrier shall be approved and tariffed in the manner prescribed by rule adopted by the public utilities commission and shall be subject to the applicable laws, including rules or regulations adopted and orders issued by the commission or the federal communications commission: (a) Carrier access; (b) Pole attachments and conduit occupancy under section 4905.71 of the Revised Code. (B) The public utilities commission may order changes in a telephone company's rates for carrier access in this state subject to this division. In the event that the public utilities commission reduces a telephone company's rates for carrier access that are in effect on September 13, 2010, that reduction shall be on a revenue-neutral basis under terms and conditions established by the public utilities commission, and any resulting rate changes necessary to comply with division (B) or (C) of this section shall be in addition to any upward rate alteration made under section 4927.12 of the Revised Code. (C) The public utilities commission has authority to address carrier access policy and to create and administer mechanisms for carrier access reform, including, but not limited to, high cost support.

Ohio may allow phone companies to end landline service

 

 
AT&T aims to say bye to landline calls
Jean Shifrin
AT&T aims to say bye to landline calls

By Jim Otte

Staff Writer

Some homeowners may see their landline telephone service eliminated under a provision in the new state budget bill now pending at the Statehouse despite warnings from critics that it will hurt senior citizens, the poor and people who live in rural areas.

The change has been sought by telephone companies for several years, arguing that installation and maintenance of landlines is a major expense while a growing number of customers are turning to cell phones and telephone service from internet providers.

Charles Moses, president of the Ohio Telecom Association, which represents 41 companies in the telecommunications industry, said provisions in the bill provide safeguards to ensure continued service to customers. Moses said under the plan the Ohio Public Utilities Commission will work with providers to identify parts of the state where there may be gaps in service comparable to landlines.

“If there is no comparable and affordable alternative, the PUCO could order the incumbent company to continue to give them a similar service at a similar price and that could go on literally forever,” Moses said.

Sarah Briggs, director of public affairs for AT&T, said the changes will allow the company to adapt to the marketplace.

“The motivation is increased consumer and business demand for wireless and voice over Internet,” she said. “AT&T has seen a 70 percent decrease in traditional service over copper lines in the last 10 years.”

State regulators are unsure exactly how many people would be affected by the changes in telephone service contained in the bill. Holly Karg, director of public affairs for PUCO, said a state collaborative called for in the bill will work to identify the areas of the state and number of consumers involved. “The collaborative is directed to study, among other things, the internet-based transition and its effect on consumer protection, public safety, reliability and competition. The collaborative would also focus on affordability of alternate telecom services,” Karg said.

Critics like Ellis Jacobs, attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, said the bill creates an undue amount of uncertainty for customers and he questions whether the safeguards in the bill will work.

“Right now if a phone company wants to withdraw service from an area they can petition the PUCO and show that nobody is going to be injured because there is alternative service. This just flips that all around. Now all they have to do is notify the PUCO that they want to drop service and the burden is on the customer to show why they shouldn’t be allowed to do that,” Jacobs said.

Even if alternative service is available, the quality and reliability of that service has been questioned by Gene Krebs, a former Republican legislator from Preble County and now chair of the governing board of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. He argued coverage maps from cell phone companies are not accurate because they do not reflect the areas where service is weak and prone to dropped calls.

“Much of Ohio is what I call cell-free Ohio,” he said. “If there is such a thing as the information super highway I myself live on the information dirt road.”

Krebs estimated that 25 percent of the state does not have adequate cell phone service.

Internet service to rural areas is often equally weak, according to Krebs, who said he cannot watch Netflex at his home on weekends due to slow service when it is in high demand. He remains concerned about the impact of the change, even though the proposal has undergone several improvements since it was inserted into the budget bill by the governor, Krebs said.

“I believe that the governor’s office is acting in good faith,” he said. “I would say if you live in rural Ohio this issue takes on a little bit more color.”

State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, said he and other lawmakers heard extensive testimony on the deregulation plan. “I supported the stand-alone bill. We shouldn’t require companies to invest in this (traditional) technology when there is limited demand for it,” Beagle said.

Beagle is convinced that the safeguards in the current version of the plan within the state budget will work to protect consumers. “As new development goes out there will be a change in technology. People will not lose service. What you may see at some point is copper lines may not be maintained if there’s comparable service available,” Beagle said.

The telephone deregulation provisions are contained in the state budget bill, H.B. 64, which is headed to a joint House-Senate Conference Committee. Legislators face a June 30th deadline to pass the spending plan, with critics and supporters agreeing the deregulation aspects of the bill are likely to remain in the bill.


STATE BUDGET

Ohio may allow phone companies to end landline service

 

 
AT&T aims to say bye to landline calls
Jean Shifrin
AT&T aims to say bye to landline calls

By Jim Otte

Staff Writer

Some homeowners may see their landline telephone service eliminated under a provision in the new state budget bill now pending at the Statehouse despite warnings from critics that it will hurt senior citizens, the poor and people who live in rural areas.

The change has been sought by telephone companies for several years, arguing that installation and maintenance of landlines is a major expense while a growing number of customers are turning to cell phones and telephone service from internet providers.

Charles Moses, president of the Ohio Telecom Association, which represents 41 companies in the telecommunications industry, said provisions in the bill provide safeguards to ensure continued service to customers. Moses said under the plan the Ohio Public Utilities Commission will work with providers to identify parts of the state where there may be gaps in service comparable to landlines.

“If there is no comparable and affordable alternative, the PUCO could order the incumbent company to continue to give them a similar service at a similar price and that could go on literally forever,” Moses said.

Sarah Briggs, director of public affairs for AT&T, said the changes will allow the company to adapt to the marketplace.

“The motivation is increased consumer and business demand for wireless and voice over Internet,” she said. “AT&T has seen a 70 percent decrease in traditional service over copper lines in the last 10 years.”

State regulators are unsure exactly how many people would be affected by the changes in telephone service contained in the bill. Holly Karg, director of public affairs for PUCO, said a state collaborative called for in the bill will work to identify the areas of the state and number of consumers involved. “The collaborative is directed to study, among other things, the internet-based transition and its effect on consumer protection, public safety, reliability and competition. The collaborative would also focus on affordability of alternate telecom services,” Karg said.

Critics like Ellis Jacobs, attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, said the bill creates an undue amount of uncertainty for customers and he questions whether the safeguards in the bill will work.

“Right now if a phone company wants to withdraw service from an area they can petition the PUCO and show that nobody is going to be injured because there is alternative service. This just flips that all around. Now all they have to do is notify the PUCO that they want to drop service and the burden is on the customer to show why they shouldn’t be allowed to do that,” Jacobs said.

Even if alternative service is available, the quality and reliability of that service has been questioned by Gene Krebs, a former Republican legislator from Preble County and now chair of the governing board of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. He argued coverage maps from cell phone companies are not accurate because they do not reflect the areas where service is weak and prone to dropped calls.

“Much of Ohio is what I call cell-free Ohio,” he said. “If there is such a thing as the information super highway I myself live on the information dirt road.”

Krebs estimated that 25 percent of the state does not have adequate cell phone service.

Internet service to rural areas is often equally weak, according to Krebs, who said he cannot watch Netflex at his home on weekends due to slow service when it is in high demand. He remains concerned about the impact of the change, even though the proposal has undergone several improvements since it was inserted into the budget bill by the governor, Krebs said.

“I believe that the governor’s office is acting in good faith,” he said. “I would say if you live in rural Ohio this issue takes on a little bit more color.”

State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, said he and other lawmakers heard extensive testimony on the deregulation plan. “I supported the stand-alone bill. We shouldn’t require companies to invest in this (traditional) technology when there is limited demand for it,” Beagle said.

Beagle is convinced that the safeguards in the current version of the plan within the state budget will work to protect consumers. “As new development goes out there will be a change in technology. People will not lose service. What you may see at some point is copper lines may not be maintained if there’s comparable service available,” Beagle said.

The telephone deregulation provisions are contained in the state budget bill, H.B. 64, which is headed to a joint House-Senate Conference Committee. Legislators face a June 30th deadline to pass the spending plan, with critics and supporters agreeing the deregulation aspects of the bill are likely to remain in the bill.


STATE BUDGET

Gene Krebs

The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein

Latest

Professor Noam's "Many Internets" http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-hold-rally-on-internet-at-citi-field.html . More from Noam http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board http://bit.ly/CEOPromises
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,http://bit.ly/CEOPromises

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling http://bit.ly/SorryPai
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors http://bit.ly/SorryPai

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More http://bit.ly/VintTim
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list, http://bit.ly/VintTim