By B.N. Frank
According to telecom experts who filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Americans have already paid to have safer high-speed internet via fiber optics (see also 1, 2, 3, 4). This is why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should NOT be giving more tax payer dollars to telecom companies to “bridge the digital divide” (see 1, 2).
The Case to Break Up Big Telecom & Cable Starts Now.
The IRREGULATORS will be presenting a series of reports and documentation to lay out a case to separate AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink from the state wired telecommunications public utilities they control and halt all cross-subsidies of the hundreds of subsidiaries that have turned the state wired networks into a cash machine, which was used especially for the build out of their wireless infrastructure. There should be enough funds to lower prices, solve the Digital Divide and upgrade the states and cities to fiber optic broadband.
FULL REPORT 1: Harvesting and Monopoly
Stranded & Harvested & the Creation of the Digital Divide.
We start with how AT&T et al. have been able to not only continually raise rates for decades but have been able to gouge the captured wireline customers as well as manipulate the financial accounting and even manipulate the number of lines in service.
Moreover, this is not only about the copper wires for phone service but starts us on the path to examine the impacts of what happened to those customers that AT&T et al. left stranded, and how the failure to upgrade the networks caused the Digital Divide.
We will focus mostly on AT&T California, the primary telecommunications public utility in California, and the rest of Big Telecom.
AT&T California’s Service Guides were published on March 1, 2021. They list prices for wired phone service, known as “POTS”, “Plain Old Telephone Service”, as well as the other services that are carried on the state-based public telecommunications utilities networks.
This first chart shows that the basic Calling Features, such as Call Waiting, are now $11.99 per service, per month, if the customer doesn’t have a ‘bundled’ plan. In 2004, AT&T CA’s Call Waiting was $3.23, but thanks to faulty deregulation and a corporate policy of ‘harvesting’, the price went up 271%. (Note: AT&T CA was previously SBC CA and before that Pacific Bell.)
Less than a penny to offer: However, in 1999, AT&T (then BellSouth)’s “Calling Features” were examined by the Florida Public Service Commission and they found Call Waiting only cost a fraction of a cent to offer and pennies to offer most of these other features. And that was 22 years ago.
This is Happening in Every State Controlled by AT&T or Verizon (and not as extreme in the CenturyLink states.) This is from the Verizon New Jersey Product Guide showing price gouging for Call Waiting at $14.25 for business and $12.99 for residential service.
No One Is Using the Copper Wires? Wrong.
The FCC Marketplace report in 2020 showed 38 million POTS lines, but 108 million of total wired phone connections.
“December 2019 FCC Form 477 shows that there are 38 million end-user switched access lines… In addition, there are close to 70 million interconnected VoIP subscriptions.”
Weren’t we told that no one is using the copper lines or that no one has wired phone service anymore? While the number of basic lines are in decline, in large part due to the continuous rate increases, America has been deceived.
Over 100+ Million Basic Lines Harvested and Hidden Lines: Insider telecom wonk terms like ‘switched access’ (which are basic copper-based phone lines, “POTS”) and ‘VoIP’ (sometimes called “Digital Voice” and based on “Internet Protocol”, “IP”) reveal that there are different classifications to hide the actual number of lines in America.
Example: AT&T’s U-verse, for Internet/broadband and VoIP voice calling is actually a copper-to-the-home service that uses legacy copper wires and is attached to a fiber optic ‘node’ somewhere in the neighborhood. This copper wire is reclassified; it is no longer a “POTS” line but a ‘VoIP’ line. Even though it is the exact same identical copper wire, it is now NOT counted as a line.
This is a shell game of massive proportions nationwide as well as AT&T specifically. As we uncovered, there are an estimated 50–75 million copper wired lines in use but not counted as an access line. This means that there could be approximately 100 million POTS lines, plus an additional 70 million VoIP lines — -(with a percentage, like U-verse, still using the copper based POTS line.)
Competition? No, Just Continuous Rate Increases: The California Public Utility Commission released a series of reports which detailed that prices have continued to rise since 2004, and it matches the tracking we’ve done pertaining to AT&T CA’s prices.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is supposed to protect Americans by regulating the telecom industry. It has done a lousy job for decades (see 1, 2). During the Trump administration additional lawsuits were filed against the agency for NOT protecting the public from unsafe levels of cell phone and WiFi radiation as well as 5G on Earth (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and in space. By amending the “OTARD Rule”, the agency made it so now private property owners may install 5G and WiFi antennas that will broadcast into their neighborhoods without obtaining a permit.
High speed internet is safer and more secure with a wired internet connection (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). American opposition to 5G and other unwanted wireless installation continues to increase due to concerns about reduced property value (see 1, 2, 3), public safety (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), health (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), cybersecurity and environmental risks. Some opponents have described 5G installation as a form of “environmental racism”.
Opposition to 5G is worldwide and the majority of scientists oppose deployment. If you are opposed to 5G, sign and share this letter asking President Biden and Vice President Harris to stop deployment.
Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information visit our archives and the following websites.
Provide, Protect and Profit from what’s coming! Get a free issue of Counter Markets today.