Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Verizon Ruling May Tax Dial-Up Customers

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-pipe-for-them dept.

147

cellocgw writes "The Boston Globe is reporting that a court ruling in Verizon's favor could effectively allow phone companies to charge dial-up users on a per-minute basis." From the article: "About 68 percent of US internet users now connect via broadband, according to the latest data from Neilsen//NetRatings. That still leaves millions of users connecting the old way, in which modems in their home call local numbers over a telephone line to access the Internet. Precisely how many people were affected by the court ruling is unknown. Good said the number was in the thousands, but that Global NAPs did not have exact numbers and could not disclose the identities of all the companies that relied on Global NAPs for dial-up numbers."

cancel ×

147 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

more information (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224610)

if you are like me, and found that reading the article didn't really help explain the situation, i found that this legal document [findlaw.com] really helped. i didn't follow every bit of it, but it does present a surprisingly readable history of the case and the issues.

Re:more information (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224640)

Since nobody is going to read that document anyways, can you please provide us an inaccurate and sensationalized summary please?

Re:more information (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224858)

Verizon has purchased all extent copyrights of GNU software and is legally entitled to eat your firstborn child.

Re:more information (1)

LordOfTheNoobs (949080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225064)

Well, that clears that up.

So... the secondborn still good then, no?

Re:more information (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224655)

hehe, and when i still don't have clue after reading both?

Guess i wait for a best guess on who is billing who for what ;)

Re:more information (1)

FirstOne (193462) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224753)

From the court decision ...

"Global NAPs cannot point to any language in the order that explicitly preempts state regulation of access charges for the non-local ISP-bound traffic at issue."

While it may not affect this particular case Federal Law 108-435 states... "No State or political subdivision thereof may impose any of the following taxes during the period beginning November 1, 2003, and ending November 1, 2007" `(1) Taxes on Internet access.

Looks like Global NAP needed better lawyers..

Re:more information (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224773)

explicitly preempts state regulation of access charges

The state telling companies what they can charge is not a tax on Internet access.

Re:more information (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224777)

i don't think this is about taxes at all but rather out of area calling charges from the phone company.

Re:more information (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224811)

If I read that right, Global NAPs acts as a telephone service provider and offers "local" numbers that aren't actually physically in the exchange area they are logically in (mostly to ISPs). Because (for reasons I don't understand) with these local-but-not-really calls the originating local carrier pays the receiving local carrier on a per minute basis, Global NAPs has previously been getting paid by Verizon by the minute for these calls.

This ruling allows a state regulatory action to stand which would change that arrangement so that Global NAPs would pay Verizon for those calls, rather than vice versa.

It certainly does not allow Verizon to charge dialup users on a per minute basis; it allows Verizon to charge Global NAPs -- the ISPs phone company -- on a per minute basis, rather than vice versa, for the calls.

Now, of course, this (if other states follow suit) is likely substantially discourage companies from providing virtual local numbers for ISPs, which could well adversely effect the dialup market [especially the big national and regional dialup ISPs -- the surviving local dialups might rely more on real rather than virtual local numbers, and not be hurt at all], but its hardly a tax on dialup users, as such.

Re:more information (1)

hoppo (254995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224856)

That was an unwieldy but interesting read. Correct me if I'm wrong, but interexchange VNXX traffic means the endpoints are not local to one another. Since the VNXX traffic ends at the point of connection to the Internet, but this seems to be the condition in dispute:

Global Naps has to dial one or more additional connection points from its inital access point to gain a connectionto the Internet. Somewhere there is a connection that terminates in a different exchange than where it was initiated (i.e. a toll call). The basis of their case appears to be that somehow the interexchange calls initiated by their users, which would have been charged had they been voice calls, should not be charged because the ISP remand order somehow takes precedence. The court obviously disagreed.

I'm no lawyer, but my take is Global Naps thought they'd get away with not paying their phone bill, and sued when Verizon cut off their service.

Pure FUD, unless you happen to be their subscriber (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225249)

Global Naps thought they'd get away with not paying their phone bill, and sued when Verizon cut off their service.

Once i got to the gist of the issue, the above pretty much sums it up.
http://fsnews.findlaw.com/cases/1st/052657.html [findlaw.com]

Gnaps was assigning and using phone numbers (they're a CLEC) *outside* a phone number's local area, to expand their coverage area. They were scamming Verizon left & right abusing how they rate and bill local calls.

Verizon is partly to blame here, by assuming that calls coming in were "local" calls if they were from & to telephone numbers in the same exchange (NXX).

It's 100% high-grade FUD for everybody except those who got shafted by Gnap's shady schemes. Those people should be looking for another provider. This has absolutely no bearing on regular dialup users. Regular dialup POP's are equipment installed at CO's, data centers or other locations, the DCS goes & internet traffic goes out at each location; or DCS traffic is carried by dedicated line to where the POP is physically located.

from the above link...

Global NAPs' VNXX System

Under the traditional system for rating calls, whether a call is "local" or "interexchange" depends on geographically defined local calling areas. The DTE established the existing geographic local calling area structure for Massachusetts after a generic proceeding "in which all interested Parties had the opportunity to comment." Verizon implements this system by comparing the "NXX" numbers (the "NXX" is the middle three digits of a ten-digit phone number) of the caller and the recipient. The "NXX" has generally been associated with a particular "switch" (that is, the equipment that routes phone calls to their destination) physically located within a local calling area; NXXs have thus served as proxies for geographic location. This means that if the NXX numbers of the caller and the recipient were within the same local calling area, one could assume that the caller and recipient were actually physically within the same calling area and bill the call as a local call.

Global NAPs has the ability to assign its customers "virtual" NXXs (VNXX), so that a Global NAPs customer can be given VNXX numbers that are different than those that would normally be assigned to him based on his physical location. This allows a party to call what appears to be a "local" number, although behind the scenes that call is actually routed to a different local calling area. When the party making such a call is a Verizon customer, the call is transmitted outside the local calling area by Verizon.

Many of Global NAPs' ISP customers use VNXX arrangements, and many of these ISPs' end-user customers use Verizon for local phone service. To access the Internet, the end-user dials in to a VNXX number assigned to his or her own local calling area. Then, Verizon transports the call across local calling areas to Global NAPs' point of interconnection with the Verizon network. Global NAPs and Verizon agree that "[u]nder VNXX arrangements, the Verizon end user's call to the ISP's server is toll-free [to the end user] whether or not the ISP's server is located in the same local exchange area in which the end-user originates the call." (emphasis added)


this isn't that much different than the intra-LATA toll free numbers that are (and have been) getting shut down for similar "loopholes" that CLECs have found to abuse. neither case affects regular providers or their subscribers, only those who use a company that's been skirting the rules.

My contacts at national and wholesale dialup providers are just laughing their asses off at these particular companies who have no one to blame for their misfortune but themselves. There's a local dialup provider around here that got sucked into one of these scams, and they'll probably end up going out of business as a result of that boneheaded decision. But it's their OWN fault that they shut down their own POPs, DCS and dedicated lines that used to carry all their dialup traffic.

It's like the lottery (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224618)

You know - a tax on the stupid.

Re:It's like the lottery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15225102)

Just because you can't get High Speed Internet, that dosen't make you stupid. Just because you don't use the computer enough to justify a high speed connection, dosen't. However, thinking dial up users are stupid, may just be a sign that one is stupid.

Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224635)

If you're using a resource -- ie. the phone line -- then why shouldn't you pay the owner according to how much you use it?

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224653)

Because the end user is already paying for the call. Verizon is trying to get the ISP to pay as well, on the exact same data.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (2, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224680)

i'm not sure that is right. it looks like global naps is using these vnxx numbers so that the person doesn't need to pay out of area charges on the call. and verizon is saying that global naps should pay that charge. global naps didn't think they should have to, but so far haven't found an arbitrator or court who agrees with them.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225085)

It's finer than that. They don't dispute that they have to pay Verizon to termate the call, but Global NAPs wants to pay the rate set by the FCC for long distance calls, Verizon is charging the rate set by the state which is higher for intra-state calls. So far, the courts have held up the Verizon rates and Global NAPs is effectively being put out of business until they pay up.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (2, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224659)

"If you're using a resource -- ie. the phone line -- then why shouldn't you pay the owner according to how much you use it?"

That depends on how it's advertised. 'Unlimited' is not the same as 'within reason'. If AT&T advertises a per-minute charge and THEN people sign up, then I agree, no reason why not.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224685)

"If you're using a resource -- ie. the phone line -- then why shouldn't you pay the owner according to how much you use it?"

By that reasoning, one should also pay per minute for broadband, no?

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224711)

You do. Assuming that your cable or DSL modem is turned on 24/7, and you pay $50 per month for the service, it works out to about (5000 cents) / (44640 mins/month) = .11 cents / minute.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224791)

No, that's not right: with most providers, You're charged what's called a flat fee, no matter how many minutes you occupy the line. You pay $50 a month, even if you unplug your modem, leave it off for 29.9 days that month, and transfer a total of 5 bytes of data during the whole time.

Your calculation of 0.11 cents / minute is called an average; it would be correct to say "You are charged $50 of month, which is an AVERAGE of 0.11 cents / minute."

However, it's a monthly fee that's paid, not a per-minute fee: the process of averaging a flat fee is different from being charged 0.11 cents / minute in the way I mentioned above, and also in how per-minute charges are rounding (I.E. on a per-minute-charged call, you will never use less than one minute. Technically, it would be possible to owe charges for more than 44,640 minutes in a month, if you were connected almost the whole time, but also made a bunch of short connections because your modem was hanging up on you, suddenly, calls which were shorter than a minute.).

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224857)

I was making a joke. If my bill was reduced when I switch off my cable modem or passed no traffic through it it would be different of course.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224894)

Lighten up a bit. I think the GP was being somewhat facetious.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224804)

Actually, in my country all providers offer per-minute packages along with always-on packages. They are mostly aimed at noobs and people who only spend a little time on the net (and would be better off with dialup but hey, everybody has ADSL so they must have it too). But anyway that's some freedom of choice, isn't it?

Moron (0, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225023)

What more needs to be said.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (2, Insightful)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225065)

Umm, no. Local phone service from Verizon is sold as a package-- you pay $x for local phone service. There are no per-minute charges.

If Verizon wants to charge by the minute, they should have to do it for ALL local calls. Billing local calls differently (some by the minute, some unlimited) based on what is on the other end (a computer v. a person) is BS.

Re:Why the hell shouldn't they pay by the minute? (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225186)

Well said!

DSL Lines (2, Insightful)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224638)

Aren't DSL Lines technically dial-up? They just use a higher frequency, but still dialing a local number and using the phone line... Correct me if I'm wrong, but assuming they can tax the dial-up (Earthlink, AOl,e tc), then could they also tax DSL users?

Re:DSL Lines (4, Informative)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224651)

No, DSL lines are not dialing a number. They are point to point links.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224677)

If it was a true Point-to-Point then wouldn't it be always connected as long as each end has power? Why do they say that the DSL modem periodically needs to redial?

Re:DSL Lines (2, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224710)

If "they" say that, then "they" are full of it.

DSL links are always connected. Your computer (or router/firewall) may need to periodically refresh/obtain a DHCP lease, but the link itself is always up.

Re:DSL Lines (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224725)

The DSL modem does not need to "redial". There is no dialing happening in the first place. The DSL line operating at Layer 1 (and 2 I believe) is established 24/7 between the end-user's modem and the DSLAM at the Central Office. The only thing that you see that is similar to dialing is the PPPoE connection made by the router (and is commonly part of a modem/router combo) but it only operates at Layer 2 and above.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224727)

And you believed them???

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Elven Thief (917568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224764)

If your DSL connection is PPPoE and not DHCP, your modem will occasionally get logged out and need to reauthenticate to get back online. This is probably the "redialing" you're talking about.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224771)

I'm not sure how often "periodically" is, but as long as my power doesn't go out, I get uptimes of 1.5 years on my dsl (at which point, the power goes out).

try getting a real isp, one that knows what they are doing. (hint: if they own the copper, they don't know a god damn thing)

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224991)

I've got cable for personal use and a T1 for work. I was just asking because of DSL users. I personally dislike it.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

jeeperscats (882744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225066)

"(hint: if they own the copper, they don't know a god damn thing)"

I thought that was only in my redneck home town. Wow is it really true though!

Re:DSL Lines (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225269)

(hint: if they own the copper, they don't know a god damn thing)
And if they don't own the copper, they don't know a god-damned thing about how ADSL works in the real world.

Running an ADSL ISP ain't like dusting crops, boy...

Re:DSL Lines (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224816)

I'm pretty sure when they say "redialing" they mean re-establishing a PPoE session, which involves reconnecting with the username and password, but not dialing a number; since people are more comfortable with a familiar word, they continue to call it dialing, even though it makes no sense.

Your modem doesn't dial a number with DTMF over DSL -- technically, what happens really should not be referred to as "dialing", because it's not going over a voice link.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224847)

If you have a static IP, the only time your modem should need to reconnect (not "dial") is when you have some kind of line difficulty or turn it off.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224891)

Why do they say that the DSL modem periodically needs to redial?

Because they are lying to you, and lying is easier than telling the truth. The truth is that they use PPPoE to authenticate you, and the "always on" "instant on" "never dial" connection disconnects and has delays while it "dials" the PPPoE server to log in. The sessions hang, modems reboot, and things like that. The session must be reestablished then, and it takes about 2 seconds or so. This also means that if you don't do anything for a while, your session will drop and you won't be able to access your computers remotely, again proving the "always on" is a lie of marketing. But they stopped most of that.

I was one of the first in my area with DSL. It was great. I was on DHCP and it worked fine. Then, I moved. They told me I had to use Enternet300. That was crappy PPPoE software. It locked up whenever I tried to VPN. It disconnected all the time and wouldn't auto-reconnect. So I wrote a nice letter to the FCC describing all my problems and why Southwestern Bell, SBC, AT&T, or whoever they are this week - was lying in their marketing material talking about the "always on" "instant on" "never dial" connection that wasn't working as advertised. Amazingly, within 48 hours of dropping that letter in the mailbox, all the things they said they couldn't do to improve service were done, and I lived happily ever after (until the next move, but that's another story).

Re:DSL Lines (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225106)

And isn't a traditional phone call a point to point link?

Re:DSL Lines (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225165)

(I'm not claiming anything about DSL)

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Geekboy(Wizard) (87906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225187)

no, a traditional phone call goes through many subsequent systems to get to its endpoint.

dsl terminates at the DSLAM, which makes it point to point (now, the IP traffic going over the dsl is not point to point).

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Burdell (228580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225180)

A DSL link is a point to point link only to the DSLAM; from there it is typically on an ATM network. BellSouth's BroadBand Gateway product allows PPPoE customers to have sessions to different providers simultaneously on a single DSL circuit, although I don't know if anyone supports it in the real world, and I'm not really sure how it can even be ordered (the BBG docs describe it however).

Re:DSL Lines (1)

for(x1,x!1,x++) (966751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224726)

actualy No DSL lines are not dial up and have never been dial up. A Dsl line is a Digital signal that is layered on the line but the Signal is intercepted by a DSLAM ( Digital Service Line Access Multiplexer )and never reaches the PSTN ( public Service Telephone switch ). so DSL is a completely different service. However there have been some dsl modem in the Past that have emulated a dail up modem but they never dailaed a true telephone number they dial a vertual access channel and path.

Today most telco's give a telephone number to the customer if they only have dsl for ease of records and access since 99% of the tools that they use are based on a telephone numbering scheme.

Re:DSL Lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224961)

a line is not a signal, dummy.

i love these slashdot "experts".

You are thinking of ISDN lines (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224933)

ISDN is just digital phone service. Works like a normal phone line, you can even dial normal phone lines from it. It just happens to be a digital link. It, of course, offers greater flexability and features than a normal phone line, but same idea. Point to multi-point circut switched. However it's flexabilty is one of the reasons it's so costly.

DSL is a point-to-point connect. You get the line and sepcify where the other point will be. Could be an ISP, could be your work, if they have a DSLAM, etc. It then doesn't change. You can't just push buttons and change the endpoint.

Re:DSL Lines (1)

Jason Straight (58248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225283)

What frickin' rock you been under for the last few days? Net Neutrality?

They will be taxing all internet access soon.

Moses: Set my people free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224644)

""The Boston Globe is reporting that a court ruling in Verizon's favor could effectively allow phone companies to charge dial-up users on a per-minute basis [CC] [MD].""

Anyone want to take a wild guess on what will happen with all those dial-up users (of which I'm one).

Re:Moses: Set my people free. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224708)

You'll fly a jet into Verizon's headquarters?

Re:Moses: Set my people free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224927)

My Uncle worked in the Verizon Office near the WTC, you insensitive clod!!!!

Re:Moses: Set my people free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15225229)

Please tell us the brand and number of bristles in the broom the Men in Black use on you.

Re:Moses: Set my people free. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225123)

Anyone want to take a wild guess on what will happen with all those dial-up users (of which I'm one).

Nice knowing you.

Re:Moses: Set my people free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15225225)

You'll switch to broadband like the rest of us did four years ago?

Interesting spin on article contents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224663)

From the article it sounds like a single company, Global Naps, didn't pay its bill and got shut off. Global naps provided the local pops for a series of dial-up isps. Only Global Naps got cut off. Apparently the ISPs had to find some other company that presumably paid its bills to provide new local pops for their users to call.

title misleading (2, Informative)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224671)

GNAPS and others are using a loophole of sorts to provide free 800#s within LATA boundaries. The phone companies finally started to close the loophole, presumably they want to boost their own dialup revenue since they will be the only dialup alternative in the very small towns where it is not financially feasible for a real company to put in dialup modems.

Re:title misleading (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224755)

But whats sick is Verizon also wants back pay for the year that this company was using the loophole. And Verizons bullshit about "this is entirly the companies fault, not ours".

Telephone companies are bad about charging outragious fees and expecting people to pony up.. /Where I work we recently expanded into a space that had a lot of old sprint equipment left there by previous tenents we asked sprint to remove it. They did and now want $2K without our approving for such work to be done.

Re:title misleading (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224956)

As a CLEC, GNAPS _should_ be able to use the loophole for now and forever. CIC 0110 is a loophole built into the phone system by the phone companies for their own use, so there's no reason a CLEC can't get unbundled free minutes. It's kind of like when you used to be able to dial 10-110-01-NPA-NXX-XXXX and call for free from any payphone in Dearborn, MI. I remember for like 6 or 8 months, before 4 digit CICs, 10-110 gave you free calls from home phones and payphones. I used to dialup into speedway.net for free from home back when they existed..

Re:title misleading (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224760)

Rule states that you can't meter data calls on those 800 numbers it isn't really a loop hole. If i remember correctly.

Not glad I used Dial up (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224687)

I can now finally say "no" when asked, "Arent' you glad you used dial?"

All right, all right... We get the message already (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224697)

Well, goodbye Internet, we hardly knew you. It's been a long, strange and wonderful ride.

I guess we can always all go back to Fidonet [fidonet.org] , using 33.6bps modems. Fortunately, the necessary software [mbse.dds.nl] can be installed on Linux.

Unfortunately, I am not entirely joking. It's either Fidonet, or creating a some sort of cooperative (not-for-profit) ISP, based in part on WiFi technology.

Re:All right, all right... We get the message alre (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224718)

Yeah, damn those bastards trying to make a profit. Profit is such a waste. It serves no purpose. Everything would be better run if it were run by non-profit organizations, or corporations whose profits were taxed 100%.

Profits and corporations. (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224769)

Yeah, damn those bastards trying to make a profit. Profit is such a waste. It serves no purpose. Everything would be better run if it were run by non-profit organizations, or corporations whose profits were taxed 100%.

The problem is not that they are making a profit: I have no problems with companies making a profit (even an indecent profit). The problem I have is when a large company like Verizon is (a) screwing customers to make even more profit and (b) creating a two-speed Internet to extort money out of both their customers and other companies.

And yes, we are talking about extortion here, which is not a normal modus operandi by any measure. Except for the Mob, but that's another story.

Re:All right, all right... We get the message alre (0, Redundant)

Sir Humphrey Appleby (971633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224779)

What on earth are you talking about? How does a Verizon price hike for dial up users kill the internet?

Re:All right, all right... We get the message alre (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224837)

Especially given that its not a price hike for dialup users, but a price hike for telephone companies providing out-of-area numbers to ISPs. There are, after all, dialup ISPs (particularly the little local ones) whose access numbers are actually physically located in the local exchange they serve and who would not be affected at all by this.

What's the status quo? (0, Flamebait)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224703)

Are local calls currently free for American phone users?

Either the TFA is extremely poorly written, or this story is wholly unremarkable.

Re:What's the status quo? (2, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224723)

As it says somewhere in the FAQs, Slashdot is a U.S. web site and assumes its readers know stuff that U.S. readers know. And yes, most residential users in the U.S. don't pay per-minute charges for local calls.

Re:What's the status quo? (2, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224724)

local calls are. calls out of your area are not. global NAPs had a method that allowed isp customers to make out of area calls without having to pay the charges. verizon basically said that global naps needed to pay those fees, global naps disagreed. this goes back 4 years i think, and the amount owed has grown and finally global naps was shut down as they keep losing in court and not paying.

Re:What's the status quo? (3, Insightful)

terrymr (316118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224732)

but here's what I don't get :

If I'm phone company b and somebody from phone company a calls one of my customers - then phone company a pays me for terminating the call for them.

Verizon is saying if a verizon customer calls a Global Naps customer ... then Verizon should be paid for that call.

Re:What's the status quo? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224801)

i don't understand all the document i linked up at my top post-- but it looks to me like gnaps is not disputing that what they do would generate charges, but that due to it being isp traffic it is exempt for some reason. it also looks like they've tried to get around an arbitration ruling by saying the arbitrator did not have jurisdiction, after going to them for arbitration. i may be missing something and i'm not familiar with exactly what the nxx and vnxx stuff does, but after reading it i'm not so sure that gnaps is in the right.

Re:What's the status quo? (4, Informative)

Shishak (12540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224882)

For local calls there are 2 carriers involved. The originating carrier and the terminating carrier. For local calls the originating carrier pays the terminating carrier a small amount per minute to terminate the call. This is called Reciprical compensation

For long distance (LD) calls there are 3 carriers involved. The originating carrier, the terminating carrier and the Inter eXchange Carrier (IXC). For LD calls the IXC bills the customer and pays the originating carrier and the terminating carrier a slightly bigger amount per minute. This is call Access Charges.

The problem arose when the FCC determined that Internet traffic, including dialup is considered interexchange traffic and is therefore considered LD calls. The way GNaps operated they established local phone numbers in every rate center in a LATA. That would allow the dialup user to dial a local (aka toll free) phone number. Just because the call is 'local' doesn't make it truly local. The call, according to the FCC is 'long distance' and because of that the originating carrier (Verizon in this case) is owed money by the terminating carrier (Global NAPs) that was acting as an IXC.

One of the issues in the law suit was that Verizon was billing GlobalNAPs access charges based off the MA state tariff while GNAPs said they should be billing off the FCC Federal Tariff. The MA state tariff is an order of magnitude more expensive than the federal tariff.

In any event, I had less than 24 hours notice and this 'event' knocked 5000 of my dialup users offline for almost a day. Luckily I could port my numbers to another carrier quickly

Re:What's the status quo? (0, Flamebait)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224960)

Thank you for that excellent summary. It was more articulate and informative than TFA.

Re:What's the status quo? (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224926)

They are not free. Phone companies in America keep forgetting this detail.

Re:What's the status quo? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225052)

The problem here is that local ISPs were reselling Global NAPs' dial-up service, and providing virtual POPs with seemingly local numbers that really were trunks to the actual POP in Boston. Verizon wanted their pennies per minute for being the terminal end of those long distance calls, and the court gave it to them.

So now, these virtual local ISPs have a problem: They've either got to get real Internet POP centers in these rural towns, or pass the per minute long distance charges they'll have to pay onto the consumer. This is basically going to be a shock to a lot of small ISP business models. As if they're not already bleeding customers from 2 days and ticking of unannounced downtime.

So what (2, Funny)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224714)

Years ago when I used dial-up, I had to pay per minute, because local calls aren't free in my country.

It never did me any harm. It just added to the excitement of downloading 100MB porno mpegs.

Re:So what (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224808)

Especially with your 300 baud modem!

Re:So what (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224823)

Yeah, OK. Did you also pay $30+/month fixed for the local phone service?

In the US just to have a phone number you pay $30+ which generally gives you local phone service, local meaning your neighborhood not necessarily the entire city. Anything besides that costs additional to the $30+.

Re:So what (3, Insightful)

jeeperscats (882744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225096)

I am wondering not if he payed for the phone line, but if he also paid a monthly fee for his dial-up in addition to the minute by minute cost.
In the small rural town where I grew up the first Internet access to come to us hit you really hard with the charges. First you paid $30 for the phone line (which you already had), then you paid $40 for the service, then you paid 10 cents a minute to the ISP, and on top of all that there was no local number so you paid the phone company for the long distance call.

Re:So what (1)

leenks (906881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225379)

I would assume so. Here in the UK phone rental is anything from £10 to £11.75 (around $20?) for a basic package, where you pay for all calls except evenings and weekends. Calls during the day are then anything up to around $6 an hour for a standard national rate call (Cable providers offer cheaper calls etc).

We can pay extra, usually something like £25 ($45?) a month and get most of our local and national rate calls included in the rental. However, this doesn't cover the cost of calls to companies that have 0845 and 0870 type numbers - we have to pay the normal rate for those regardless of the package we have. Most companies have them as they get paid a percentage of the call cost.

In 1998/1999 I can remember regularly paying £100 ($180?) a month phone calls just for local call dialup internet access, which was only guaranteed to work at a maximum of 14.4kbaud. Not nice!

Read the ruling... (5, Informative)

storm_guardian (687284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224786)

Much as it's nice to blame Verizon for everything, it looks as if they have a case this time. Basically, this is about virtual numbers where the ISP has no physical presence in a local calling area, but instead pays the phone company to route the calls elsewhere. Effectively, the ISP is asking Verizon to route calls from (say) Cape Cod to Boston without paying usage charges. As the original article implies, the unfortunate side-effect of the ruling is that people in rural areas may have to pay long distance charges to access their ISP.

Re:Read the ruling... (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224911)

I dunno. It seems to me both the status quo ante (originating carrier pays terminating carrier) and the status quo post (for dialup ISP calls only, the ISP carrier pays the other carrier) aren't all that sensible.

The user pays their carrier for local calling (unlimited or not, doesn't matter, its paid for, and that's the deal). The ISPs carrier pays a premium to their carrier for a number in a different area than it is physically located in. Why should either carrier compensate the other? The originating carrier knows that the virtual numbers exist, and that's part of the cost of providing local service. Similarly, the ISP's carrier knows that they'll be getting calls from the logically local exchange, that's the whole point of the service they offer. Appropriate payment for the service that is being provided ought to be built into the subscription costs on both ends, and there should be monkeying around with compensatory payments between carriers.

The old way seems like a wide open opportunity for abuse -- as long as you can selectively market your service to someone who is going to receive more than send (like, say, an ISP) you can roll in the dough, taking money from the ISP for the service, and then taking money from the user's telcos for the calls to the ISP. Win!

The way represented by this state regulatory action, though, seems like a way for the big telcos to crank up the costs for regional or national ISPs that want to maintain local access numbers, thus shutting out one of their competitors for internet service.

Both ways seem pretty dumb, but maybe I'm missing something.

Agree with the above. Mod Up. (2, Insightful)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224999)

The basic deal is this:

Global NAPs and Verizon agree that the end user's call to the ISP's server is toll-free [to the end user] whether or not the ISP's server is located in the same local exchange area in which the end-user originates the call.

What this means is that Verizon was transporting Global NAPs customer's telephone call to a non-local destination at Global NAP. Verizon was moving the phone call over Verizon phone lines to a distant destination - and to me, it seems reasonable given US telephone rules that Verizon shouldn't have to foot that bill - that's a basic principle of US local telephone service.

Global was merely mis-using its ability to make its phone numbers appear to be local. But Global was really located far away, and Global expected Verizon to bill them nothing, even though Verizon was doing all the long distance bit-hauling.

ISPs that perform this type of telco switch trickery will find that their business model ain't so cool any more. Too bad for them.

Verizon can goto hell. (0, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224798)

In my town Verison has a DSLAM installed in the CO and tells you, via online account access, that one qualifies for DSL. However they refuse to sell the service to ANYONE.

I have talked to several of the local Verizon techs and they are at a lost to explain why it isn't sold.

The can goto hell

Re:Verizon can goto hell. (1, Flamebait)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225154)

The can goto hell

I agree because, as everyone into structured programming knows, the GOTO is considered harmful.

Is PPPoE dialup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15224809)

Since most DSL providers resell LEC DSL and use PPPoE to login, effectively it is dialup. I wonder if we will all be paying per minute? If they are going charge the end points will the NSA pay to tap everything?

Re:Is PPPoE dialup? (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224975)

Just because it's PPP does not make it into a phone call by any stretch of the imagination.

Not a tax (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224946)

Taxes are imposed by the government. If a phone company overcharges for dialup, people will switch to alternate means. I know that's not possible in some remote areas, but that would also explain high prices.

What about folks with no alternate means? (4, Insightful)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225044)

I've lived most of my life in rural areas and companies like Verizon are loath to spend on the infrastructure to bring those areas up to DSL speed (never minding that farmers are among the most likely Americans to buy premium services such as DSL, HBO cable packages, etc when offered).

It's a little selfish for a company to pressure those consumers when the company is unwilling to invest in bringing them into the future.

DirectTV Tivos and Series 1 Tivo's affected also (5, Interesting)

jucevic (416197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15224951)

So am I now going to have to pay an additional amount every time my Tivo calls home? I have DSL already, but havn't taken the time to hack my DirectTV boxes. Is the Series 1 Tivo with a life time subscription that I gave my parrents now going to cost them a monthly fee?

Unnatural monopolies? (2, Interesting)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225175)

Has anyone ever noticed that the majority of the current monopolies in the US are a result of the government?

Natural monopolies don't usually last very long because in a true free market, it is almost impossible to limit barriers to entry without governmental help.

The government should stay away from the market and allow the markets to run their course.

You must be young, or trolling. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225280)

You must be young enough to wonder why things are the way they are.

Or old enough to know and simply troll against The Way Things Work(tm)

Either way, I give you credit for seeing things the way they are.

Re:You must be young, or trolling. (1)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225508)

Me? I'm 24 and want the government out of my life and out of my markets! Things tend to come out better that way.

The last time the US gov had a lassie-faire mindset it caused the Industrial Revolution. A capitalistic free-market economy is a vehicle for progress and the IR proves it. Imagine what kind of progress could be made with our current technology if regulations were minimized.

Re:Unnatural monopolies? (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225370)

It seems like you do not even understand what the phrase 'natural monopoly' means. You don't need governmental help to impose a barrier to entry to the local telephone market. Nobody is going to build a second, parallel phone network, even though government regulations do not prevent anyone from doing so.

Re:Unnatural monopolies? (1)

SonicSpike (242293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225498)

No one is prevented from building another phone network? Really?

It is my understanding that in order to be a "utility" in most locales one must be granted that status through local/state governments. I don't think they will just let you run wire (or pipe/whatever) over large tracts of public and private land.

Thus a local/geographic government-granted monolopy mustc be secured.

Let's take a monopoly that we all here at /. love to hate; Microsoft. Technically they are a monopoly having over 80% of marketshare. And some of their practices are preditorial (meaning they use their powers anti-competitively). However, the barriers to entry into the OS market are practically NIL! ZERO! ANYONE can write an OS, even a good one, perhaps even a better one that MS puts out. Hell, Linux is a prime example.

So the point is that natural monopolies really don't tend to be a big deal even though they are pretty rare, the government-granted monopolies on the other hand are problimatic. Remember big business likes big government because the gov has the power to regulate in their favor. Small government has no such power thus the government can't pander to big business.

Sorta like minutes on a cellphone plan, maybe (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225256)

AFAIK, cellphone plans work the same way (that's assuming a lot, so don't kill me on details... just provide them in case I'm totally wrong here.) That is, you agree to a contract and pay a certain amount, maybe get a certain amount of minutes each month, week, whatever... and then pay any extra minutes you use. Why not apply this to dial-up usage in the same way? Customers would probably be familiar with the same system when they use their cellphones.

**NOT** 68% (3, Interesting)

kopo (890010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225335)

The author of the article didn't understand his research. He said that according to Nielsen Ratings, 68% of US internet users connect with broadband. That's not true.
The Nielsen information for 2005 [internetworldstats.com] says that 68% of Americans use the internet - not necessarily through broadband. No statistics are given for broadband specifically, but they're definitely much lower. According to this article [com.com] , US broadband usage will reach about 62% in 2010, and was 29% in 2004. I don't know about current stats, but it's probably near 35-40%.

Another nail in the coffin of PSTN service (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225420)

This is just another nail in the coffin of PSTN service. The days of land line phones is coming to an end. Over the past few years more people are electing not to have standard telephone lines installed in their homes, instead they are using cell phnones exclusively or using IP based telephones over broadband connections. The local bell companies had better start finding another source of revenue. Land lines will disappear just like pay phones have gone virtually extinct. Same thing happened with long distance providers, like AT&T. With cell phones providing free roaming and long distance standard long distance charges are something many people don't see anymore. The only question now is how long will the local bell companies survive and how will the adapt to the changes.

News at 11 (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225430)

Phone company may charge subscribers for services rendered by means of a traditional billing system. News at 11.

Shouldn't the ISPs be paying? (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15225548)

It just sounds weird that customers are paying. I mean if I set up a 800 #, it means I'm footing the charge for each incoming call.

If the ISP creates virtual numbers at a call center/carrier (or whatever they called it), the ISP should be footing the bill that connects where the virtual number is routed from.

if ISPs don't want to foot the bill and want customers to instead, the isp should then tell the users the real phone number to call instead of the virtual number.

[user]=====[virtual #]=====[where isp is located]

the point of virtual numbers is so that people calling that number will be a local call. if you're telling me the ISP is already paying for the connect between virtual # and themselves, then I don't relly see where the problem lies.

If they're only paying some sort of setup fee and montly service charge, then it's the center managing virtual #s that is missing the big picture. as I gave the example above, 800 #s work the same way. users dial a number knowing it's toll free and the call center managing that # will reroute it to the correct place and the person/company that owns that 800# is the one that foots the bill.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>