EQUAL ACCESS AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
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=================================== EQUAL ACCESS AND THE AMERICAN DREAM =================================== by Mark Tabas P.O. Box 620401 Littleton, CO 80162 July 7, 1985 The American Dream means many things to many people. To the small, typical businessman, it means building a good, strong business based on hard work and perseverence; indeed, with nothing limiting his potential but he amount of work he is willing to put into his business. To a large businessman, the American Dream means living and working in a country where a single corporation can have a profit exceeding the gross national product of an entire third world nation. To the individual, the American Dream is the right to choo3e)-- everything from one's breakfast cereal to a long-distance service, as well as the formal right outlined by our founding fathers: those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To the phone phreak, I think the American Dream is, in a sort of twisted way, the uninhibited pursuit of knowledge. This quest could scarcely remain unchecked in many other countries. Analagous to this quest is the thriving of the Bell System, which until January 1, 1984 consisted of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, the largest corporation in the history of the world. Did the American Dream die on January first or did the divestiture of AT&T cause a giant step forward for competition and free enterprise in the United States? I do not know. I do know that the other nations of the world were amazed that the United States would dissolve the entity that brought the finest and most universal telephone system in the world, and did so at a time when the majority of the rest of the world was still using two dixie cups and a string. The unfairness of the situation is that AT&T built the telephone system of this nation and is now being bound and gagged and having its possessions distributed to others, whom AT&T also wrought. All in the name of fairness, free competition, and "equal access". Where was was MCI during the century that AT&T built he communications system of this nation? Well, I believe in Equal Access. Wholly. And, since I believe in equal access and its implications for equality for all so strongly, I feel that MCI, Sprint, and others should take the same amount of time to build their respective toll networks: 100 years. Therefore, if the United States Justice Department were truly the fair and just administrator that it portrays itself to be, MCI would not have a hand in the long-distance cache until about 2080. That's only fair. There is no doubt that MCI is a sub-standard organization. They consist of incompetent employees, inferior equipment, and an inferior marketing strategy. They are mockingly imitative of AT&T, except in the quality of their service, which is practically unusable. It is also interesting that with less than 2% market share, MCI calls itself "the nation's long-distance company." The point to this diatribe is this. It's time for these long-distance companies such as MCI and Sprint to grow up. With Equal Access, they are going to become real long-distance companies, not the joke organizations they are now, and I think it may just take them one hundred years to do so. ============ Equal Access ============ Equal Access, as it applies to the telecommunications industry, is "the requirement that each Bell Operating Company provide exchange access to all long-distance carriers that is equal in type and quality to that provided AT&T communications." This is the official provision set forth by the United States Justice Department in the Modification of the Final Judgement, August 24, 1982. All this means is that each long-distance-distance company will have "equal access" to all of the same types of services that AT&T currently enjoys. There are four types of long-distance carrier services, divided into "feature groups." They follow. FG A: "line side access." This is the standard 7-digit dialup+code (for billing purposes) +destination telephone number. It is currently in use by most long-distance carriers. FG B: "trunk side access." These are the 950 exchange numbers. They also utilize an authorization code for billing. As with FG A, automatic number identification (ANI) (i.e. calling number) is not provided to the carrier, but will be in the future. FG C: "1+ dialing." Currently, only AT&T is able to get this type of service. It is 1/0+7 of 10 digit direct long distance dialing. ANI (for billing) is provided. FG D: "equal access." This will allow for 1/0+7 or 10 digit direct long-distance dialing (presubscription carrier) and 10xxx+1/0+7 or 10 digit long-distance dialing (alternate carrier). ANI for billing is provided at the long-distance carrier's option. Billing may also be handled by the individual long distance company or the local Bell Operating Company. Feature groups C and D are mutually exclusive (i.e. both cannot exist in a particular area at the same time). Areas which have Feature Group C (AT&T long-distance only) are non-Equal Access, and areas which have Feature Group D (multiple long distance carriers) are Equal Access regions. Feature Group B, the 950 exchange numbers will be used in areas in which it is not feasible to provide with Equal Access, such as step-by-step offices (yes, they CAN have 950 numbers), some crossbar offices, and some independent telcos, which are not bound by the provisions of Equal Access and may provide to their customers any type of long-distance service(s) they wish. The 950 exchange is now active in many areas. It is mainly used as a universal "roaming" access port for many long-distance carriers, but when an office is converted to Equal Access, the 950 capability is removed. Thus, in an Equal Access region, one cannot complete a call to a 950 telephone number. I personally am looking very forward to Equal Access. My area is not scheduled for full implementation of it until late 1985 or early 1986, and by this time many of the alternate long distance carriers' networks will be in place (or well under way). Think about what Equal Access means. Equality for all long distance carriers. Access to common facilities, such as: busy-line verification lines, Bell System information, signalling specifications. etc. After full implementation of Equal Access, one will be able to take advantage of and manipulate the services of more than just one carrier. It will no longer be phreaks vs. AT&T. When your area is ready to initiate Equal Access, you will receive a notice in the mail informing you of some of the details of Equal Access, and will ask you to specify your choice of "primary carrier." In some cases you will need to specify both inter-LATA carrier (IC), which handles calls out of your LATA (Local Access and Transport Area), and an international carrier (INC), which ill handle calls destined for other countries. Recent market studies have shown that between 80 and 90 per cent of residential customers will continue to be served by AT&T for their long-distance service after Equal Access. So much for competition. You will probably be faced with many long-distance companies to choose from, including but not limited to: AT&T, MCI, Sprint, ITT, Western Union, Dial U.S., Call America, TMC, and U.S. Telephone. Whichever you choose will become your "primary carrier." Your primary carrier will handle your call each time you pick up you fone and dial 1+7 or 10 digits or 0+7 or 10 digits, inter-LATA only. That is, if you dial a toll call that is within your LATA, it will be handled by your local telephone company (Bell), not by your primary carrier, even though it is a toll call. Let's use an example. The state of Colorado consists of two LATAs. For this example, I will use three cities in Colorado: Denver (in LATA1), Sterling (LATA1 also), and Colorado Springs (in LATA2). Note here that even though Denver ad Sterling are in the same LATA, and Denver and Colorado Springs are not, Sterling is actually much farther away from Denver than Colorado Springs. This is because LATA boundaries were designed giving consideration to high toll-traffic regions, to bring in revenue. Toll traffic between Denver and Colorado Springs is very high, so the two cities were placed in separate LATAs (or, more correctly, they were separated by a LATA boundary). Toll traffic between Denver and Sterling is very low, of the two cities were allowed to remain in the same LATA. Now, if everyone in Colorado Springs were to pack up and move to Sterling (though who knows what the hell for), the LATA boundaries in Colorado would be changed so that Denver and Sterling were in different LATAs. The primary factor in determining LATAs is money. If I made a call to Sterling from my home in Denver, the call would be routed entirely via Mountain Bell long-distance facilities. No long distance carrier would be involved because Denver and Sterling are in LATA1. If I made a call to Kelley, the blonde babe in Colorado Springs, the call would be handled by a long distance carrier (in this case, AT&T) because Denver is in LATA1 and Colorado Springs is in LATA2. Here is a table to simplify this: Customer dials LATA carrier ----------------------------------------------------------------- 7 digits same Bell 1+7 digits same Bell 1+7 digits diff LD carrier (currently AT&T) 1+10 digits diff LD carrier (currently AT&T) ----------------------------------------------------------------- Note several things here. First, not all areas need to dial a 1 when dialing any number, local or long distance, but the central offices will still discern whether the call is in the same LATA as the customer or a different one and handle the call appropriately. Secondly, some step-by-step offices require a 1+NPA to be dialed for calls within the same LATA and, in fact, all numbers outside of the office itself. But, for the most part, the above table is standard for common switching networks. ================== Alternate Carriers ================== Your normal long distance carrier will handle all your toll calls which cross over LATA boundaries when you dial directly, 1+. If you wish to place your call via another carrier's network, whether for cost, quality, or circuit availability reasons, you may do so in Equal Access regions. To access an alternate long distance carrier after Equal Access, a customer dials 10xxx+1/0+7 or 10 digit telefone number. Note that xxx is the "carrier access code (CAC)." A few CACs currently in use are listed below. 222 ........ MCI 333 ........ US Telefone 444 ........ Allnet 666 ........ Lexitel 777 ........ Sprint 888 ........ SBS 220 ........ Western Union Thus, in an Equal Access region, to dial Fred in Orlando, a customer would dial 1+305+994+9966 to place his call on his primary carrier, or to place it on another network, he could dial: 10222+1+305+994+9966, and the call would go over MCI facilities (in this case). Eventually, after many more long distance services get into the act, there will be a directory of the various long distance companies and their CACs, and deciding which carrier to use for any particular call to get the bet rate will be beyond the ability of everyone except phone phreaks. ================ The 950 Exchange ================ As discussed, the 950 central office exchange is currently a "roaming" access port for various long distance carriers. In areas that have 950, the access to carriers is standardized. Thus, someone travelling to several different areas need only know the 950 number of the carrier he uses to access it from any area (provided that it have 950 active). Originally, the 950 exchange was designed to correspond with the 10xx carrier access code used for Equal Access. For example, 950-1022 would be the same carrier as 1022 (+telephone number). However, it was later found that the 100 codes available for use as 10xx CACs would be insufficient to handle he number of long distance carriers. So, the common carrier access code was increased by one digit, to 10xxx, thus increasing the number of possible CACs to 1000. To keep the 950 exchange consistent with the ne CAC, the Bell Operating Companies have opted to change the 950-10xx to 950-0xxx. The xxx in the 950-0xxx remains the same as the xxx in the 10xxx carrier access code. The new modified 950 numbering pan is now active in Philadelphia (Bell Atlantic) among other areas. After Equal Access is well under way, the 950 exchange will be used in certain areas that cannot be equipped for the standard Equal Access dialing plans. This includes step-by-step, #1 crossbar, #5 crossbar, #2ESS, and #3ESS offices. Customers in areas served by these types of switching equipment will dial information and ANI will not be provided by the local Bell Operating Company. There are three main advantages to the 950 central office exchange and protocol. They are: a) universal access for all areas, b) 950-exchange numbers are "trunk side access." This means that the long distance carrier has direct trunks going to it from a Bell toll office or local central office. These trunks are interoffice lines, not customer type (POTS) lines, and supposedly insure higher quality of connection. And, c) 950-exchange numbers are toll and message unit free. On metered-usage (i.e., not "flat rate") customer lines, they cost nothing. In most areas they are free from coin stations, with Colorado as one notable exception. ===== Costs ===== Each long-distance carrier must choose the type(s) of service it wishes to provide to its customers. These different types of service were outlined earlier as "Feature Groups." The costs of these Feature Groups vary directly with the complexity and quality of the service itself. The following table outlines the cost to the carrier of each available Feature Group. It is based on the monthly rate per line for 9000 minutes of circuit use, and assumes the carrier and Bell switch are 15 miles apart. FG non-Equal Access Equal Access -------------------------------------------------------- A $329.94 $709.20 B 329.94 721.80 C 752.40 ** N/A ** D ** N/A ** 752.40 -------------------------------------------------------- These figures are a lot more significant than they might appear. They indicate that after Equal Access, in order to compete with the giants such as AT&T, MCI, etc., smaller long distance companies will use Feature Group A or B type service in order to provide significantly lower rates to their customers than companies subscribing to Feature Group D service (like AT&T, MCI, etc). This will cause a unique type of equilibrium to form. Customers willing to dial an access number, authorization code, and destination number and put up with lower quality service will be able to save a lot of money. This seems faintly reminiscent of pre-Equal Access times.... ==================== Directory Assistance ==================== Each Bell Operating Company will be responsible for providing intra-LATA operator services. When a customer dials (1)+411 or (1)+555+1212 for local directory assistance, he will reach a Bell operator who will service requests for listed numbers within the customer's LATA. Requests for numbers in LATAs other than the calling customer's may be handled at the discretion of the local operating company. Initially, the Bell Operating Companies will meet the responsibility for providing directory assistance services by contracting it to a long distance carrier or carriers (currently AT&T). All inter-LATA directory assistance services will be provided by the inter-LATA carrier (IC). ICs may also provide 800 Enterprise service or other toll free type directory assistance services. See table. intra-LATA: HNPA 411/555-1212 BOC *FNPA NPA+555-1212 BOC HNPA 10xxx+555-1212 intra-LATA carrier *FNPA 10xxx+NPA+555-1212 intra-LATA carrier inter-LATA: HNPA (10xxx)+1+555-1212 IC FNPA (10xxx)+1+NPA+555-1212 IC * When LATA boundaries cross NPA boundaries (rare). FNPA = Foreign Numbering Plan Area (area code). HNPA = Home Numbering Plan Area (area code). At first glance, the above table appears somewhat complex. But, if you understand the concept of LATAs and carriers, it is easily understood. Essentially, all local Bell Operating Companies will maintain their own directory assistance services. When a customer dials 411 or 555-1212, he will reach a BOC directory assistant. Additionally, each long distance carrier that wishes to provide directory assistance to its customers will also have DA facilities. And, when a customer dials a directory assistant (NPA+555-1212) on a carrier, he will reach an operator of that particular long distance carrier. The key here is LATAs. If a customer wants to find a number that is within his LATA, no long distance carrier is involved. It is handled strictly by the Local Bell Operating Company. If a customer is seeking a number that is not within his LATA, he must use the services of an inter-LATA (long-distance) carrier. ====================== TSPS Operator Services ====================== Traffic Service Position System (TSPS) operator services will be handled much in the same fashion as directory assistance services, with a few differences. As with DAs, each Bell Operating Company and each inter-LATA carrier will maintain its own TSPS operator facilities (or cordboard I suppose, if they cannot afford TSPS). When a customer dials simply 0 (operator), he will reach a BOC TSPS operator. The BOC TSPS will be able to handle all types of intra-LATA operator-assisted traffic including (but not limited to): collect, third party billing, Bell credit card, coin, verification and emergency interrupt, and requests for emergency aid. BOC TSPS will be unable to complete calls for customers outside of the customer's LATA. Thus, inter-LATA operator assistance will be handled by an inter-LATA carrier TSPS (IC TSPS). An IC TSPS will handle all previously mentioned types of calls that require inter-LATA transport (i.e., the call originates and terminates in different LATAs). When a customer dials 0+NXX-XXXXX or 0+NPA+NXX-XXXX, the central office will determine if the call is destined for another LATA. If it is not, the call will be sent to the Bell TSPS for appropriate handling. If the call is bound for another LATA (and his determination is made based on the NXX or NPA+NXX), then the call will be sent off to the customer's primary long-distance carrier (since only 0+ was dialed). If the customer wishes to use a different carrier's operator services, he would dial 10xxx+0+number, and the carrier specified by the 10xxx carrier access code would receive the call. Note: if a customer dials 10xxx+0+number, and the call is an intra-LATA call, he will get a recording, "We're sorry, the number you dialed cannot be reached with the carrier access code you dialed. Please check the code and try again or call your carrier for assistance." (Western Electric KS-22550 central office tape list no. 46.) Until the Bell Operating Companies can install their own TSPS facilities and networks, they will (continue to) lease capacity from AT&T TSPS. That is, AT&T will handle the intra-LATA traffic for the BOCs on a contract basis. In the meantime, AT&T will continue to handle its own long-distance operator services while the other inter-LATA carriers will have to implement their own operator networks from scratch. My estimation is that you won't be able to dial 10222+0 for an MCI TSPS operator until sometime around the year 2590. And even then they will probably be cordboard. In addition to the changes in TSPS described above, there will be certain modifications to the software and hardware involved in the TSPS operator system. Most critical, and of paramount importance to the telecommunications enthusiast is changes in circuit associated signalling (CAS). This is signalling to and from the TSPS facility. When a customer dials 0 (operator) or 10xxx+0 (IC operator), a succession of events occurs. First, the end office seizes a trunk to the appropriate operator facility (this assumes that no access tandem is involved). The operator service facility responds with a wink (proceed signal) and the end office outpulses the CALLED number (or KP+ST if 0 only dialed). The operator service (OS) facility will then come off-hook to signal that it is ready to receive ANI information. The end office outpulses the ANI information in the format of KP+II+7 digits+ST (or ST'). If there is ANI failure, a KP+02+ST (or ST') will be sent. "ST'" stands for STart "prime", and is indicative of a coin call (i.e., dial 0 from a coin station). A normal ST terminating the ANI sequence means that the call is originating from a noncoin station. See table for ultimate description. inter-LATA calls type of call customer dials MF-pulsed cld num ANI =============================================================================== noncoin: direct dialed 10xxx+1+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST'' KP+II+7d+ST operator assist 10xxx+0 KP+ST''' KP+II+7d+ST special toll 10xxx+0+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST''' KP+II+7d+ST coin: direct dialed 10xxx+1+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST KP+II+7d+ST operator assist 10xxx+0 KP+ST' KP+II+7d+ST special toll 10xxx+0+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST' KP+II+7d+ST intra-LATA calls =============================================================================== noncoin: direct dialed 10xxx+1+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST'' KP+II+7d+ST' operator assist 10xxx+0 KP+ST''' KP+II+7d+ST' special toll 10xxx+0+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST''' KP+II+7d+ST' coin: direct dialed 10xxx+1+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST KP+II+7d+ST' operator assist 10xxx+0 KP+ST' KP+II+7d+ST' special toll 10xxx+0+7/10d KP+7/10d+ST' KP+II+7d+ST' Note: ST=Start, ST'=STart prime, ST''=Start double prime, ST'''=STart triple prime. Once again, the above table appears somewhat intimidating in its complexity. All these STs, ST primes, etc. Actually, the only purpose of the starts is to distinguish to the TSPS machine exactly what type of call the customer is placing and from what type of telefone he is calling. "Special toll" calls are collect, credit card, and third-party billing type calls. Here is an example of a complete dialing and outpulsing sequence for an operator service call: from a coin fone, a customer dials 0+ (or 10xxx+) 303+979-9997. The central office would seize a trunk to the operator service facility and outpulse: KP+303+979-9997+ST'. This indicates to the operator service facility that the call is a special toll call originating from a coin telephone. The OS facility comes off-hook and the central office would then outpulse KP+00+232+9969+ST. This is he ANI information, and the ST indicates that the call is inter-LATA (if it were intra-LATA, the sequence would be terminated with ST' instead). Perhaps now I should explain screening. Certain telefones are "screened" against placing certain types of calls. A screening code is a two digit information carrier. For instance, 00 is "identified line" (no special treatment), 01 is multiparty ONI (operator number identification), 02 is ANI failure, 06 is hotel/motel, 07 is coinless (hospital/inmate fone), 08 is inter-LATA restricted, 68 is hotel inter-LATA restricted, 78 is coinless (hospital inmate) inter-LATA restricted, etc. A 98 is an AT&T Charge-A-Call fone (those blue fuckers). More screening codes are allocated as they are needed. Note that the original TSPS screening design only allowed for single digit information digits. They were later found to be insufficient. I believe that the operator services have been adequately covered, so I will now move on to other aspects of Equal Access. ============= Routing Codes ============= The TTC (terminating toll centre) and special routing codes will continue to be used in inter-LATA networks. These 0xx and 1xx type codes, which sometimes precede operator routing codes, will be assigned to various ICs on an individual basis. When 0xx and 1xx codes serve as pseudo-central office code, they will be coordinated such that it will avoid IC conflicts. The Numbering/Dialing Planning Group of the Central Services Organization (sounds like some sort of Communist governing body) will provide assistance where the assignment of coordinated codes is necessary. ================== Special Area Codes ================== Special area codes, also called Service Area Codes (SACs) presented the designers of Equal Access with an interesting problem. SACs are N00 type area codes, such as 700, 800, and 900. They are used for special services and unlike normal area codes, are not associated with a particular state or region. Each long distance carrier will be allocated its own exchanges in each service area code. Thus, when a customer places a call to a number in a service area code, the central office will examine the exchange of the telefone number and route the call over the proper carrier's facilities. The customer will be totally oblivious to this process. Current SACs include 700 (teleconferencing), 800 (toll free services), and 900 (dial-it services). There are currently plans under way to implement the 600 area code, although its exact uses are not yet clear. ================ Signalling to IC ================ Each long distance carrier that wishes to serve a particular LATA must establish a point of presence (POP) in that LATA. A carrier's POP is a toll office that receives toll traffic destined for another LATA. A POP is a centre for inter-LATA transport of toll traffic. This traffic will be directed to it from a Bell central office, either an end office or an access tandem (AT). An access tandem is simply a Bell office which directs long distance traffic from a number of local end offices to a number of different inter-LATA carriers. To pass call details (such as called and calling numbers) from the Bell local office to the inter-LATA carrier, a signalling system was designed that employs current multifrequency (MF) signalling protocol. When a customer dials 10xxx+(1/0)+(NPA)+NXX+, the end office will seize a trunk to the appropriate IC as determined by the 10xxx CAC (or primary carrier if no CAC is dialed). Note: this happens as soon as the customer finishes dialing the exchange, even though he may still be dialing the last four digits of he telefone number. After the end office has seized a trunk to the IC, the IC will return a wink, which is the signal to proceed. Then, the end office will send ANI information, in the format of: KP+II+10 digit ANI+ST. If the carrier is not to receive ANI information from the Bell Operating Company (i.e., they are not paying for it), then only KP+ST is sent. Presumably, by now the customer has completed dialing the last four digits of the destination telefone number, so the end office will send: KP+7 or 10 digit CALLED number+ST. Note several things here: 1) The IC does not send a wink when it is ready to receive CALLED number information. 2) ANI information is ten digits, plus a two-digit screening code, and 3) The central office's outpulsing to the IC overlaps the customer's dialing. Some ANI screening codes include: 00 (identified POTS), 01 (ONI multiparty), 02 (ANI failure), 06 (hotel without room identifcation), 07 (coinle ss, hospital, inmate, etc.), 08 (inter-LATA restriction), 10 (test call), 20 (AIOD calls, listed DN sent), 27 (coin call), and 95 (test call). These are the same or similar as the screening codes used in operator service signalling. In addition to the domestic signalling design outlined above, a new international signalling system has been designed for use with Equal Access. It also uses two-stage, overlapping outpulsing. After a customer has completed dialing (10xxx)+011+CC (CC is country code), the Bell end office will seize a trunk to he appropriate IC (or international carrier, if direct routing is available). The IC/INC will respond with a wink, and the end office will outpulse: KP+1NX+YXX+CCC+ST. Each of these three groups of routing information indicate something different abut the international call being placed. The 1NX is the "international system routing code, one for each type of call routing." I have absolutely no idea what that means, and no one I have talked to at Bell, AT&T, MCI, CCITT, ITT, the CSO and FCC have any idea either. Next, the YXX is the carrier routing code. It is actually XXX, Which is the three digits of the 10xxx CAC for the particular carrier being accessed. Finally, CCC is the ountry code, padded with a zero if necessary. One may wonder why the CAC is signalled forward when a trunk is seized directly to the carrier itself. The reason for this is that in some cases a direct trunk to the carrier is not available and the call must be routed through an access tandem, which is responsible for routing calls to a variety of different long distance carriers. ==================== Switch Compatibility ==================== Full-feature Equal Access will become available first for Western Electric #1ESS switching systems. It will be available first in generic 1E8 (1AE8 for #1A ESS). Later, generic 5E2 for #5ESS, generic 2B4 for #2B ESS, generic BCS-16 for Northern Telecom DMS-100, and generics 209 and 302 for DMS-10 will provide full-feature Equal Access capabilities in those types of end office switching equipment. The Western Electric #4ESS, #1 and 1A ESS, #5ESS, and the Northern Telecom DMS-200 machines which serve as toll offices or access tandems will be capable of receiving the new Equal Access signalling format, after required generic development. Other switches (such as all crossbar offices) will not be able to handle the new signalling format. ===== LATAs ===== LATAs, Local Access and Transport Areas, are the entire key to the administration of Equal Access. They can be thought of as miniature area codes. A telefone call can never cross a LATA boundary except on an inter-LATA carrier. However, there are certain exceptions to this. For example, in the state of Colorado, which consists of two LATAs, the local Bell Operating Company (Mountain Bell), which serves as the intra-LATA (i.e., calls to/from the same LATA) carrier, may also serve as inter-LATA (to/from different LATAs) carrier within Colorado. There are also exceptions in the corridor region of the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. The forty-eight continental United States consist of 161 LATAs. Some states, such as Deleware, consist of only one LATA, while others, such as Illinois, can have up to 14 or more. Each LATA is given a name. For instance, Pennsylvania consists of six LATAs: Philadelphia, Capital, Northeast, Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Erie (independent telco). ============== A Few Thoughts ============== In 1973, Chrysler, A&P, RCA, Phillips Petroleum, S.S. Kresge, Boeing Aircraft, International Harvester, Woolworth's, Greyhound, Firestone, Litton, and General Foods, among others, each reported annual profits of less than $150 million. In that same year, the Telephone Company wrote off, as being uncollectable, debts of $150 million. In 1974, the Bell System had direct interests in at least 276 organizations, many of them not related to the telefone industry. Bell also had interlocking financial arrangements with such corporations as the Chase Manhattan Bank, IBM, Prudential Insurance, Sears Roebuck, General Motors, U.S. Steel, and Lever Brothers. Should the need have arisen, the Bell System in 1974 could have exercised control of 400 billion dollars, fully one-third of that year's gross national product. From: Hyde, J. Edward, The Phone Book. Henry Regnery Publishing Company, Chicago Illinois, 1976. ISBN 0-8092-8008-6. There are many viewpoints as to the future course of the telefone industry. The general consensus among most Telco employees is that the children of AT&T (i.e., the seven regional holding companies into which the Bell System was divided) will someday be reassembled into the original Bell System, and all will be well and good in the world of telecommunications again. I tend to disagree with this. I think that within three decades the entire telefone industry will be consolidated and nationalized. It will be owned and operated entirely by the United States Federal Government. This will accomplish several goals of the government. First, the immense revenue from telefone services will provide great financial resources for the federal government. Rates for telefone services will skyrocket far out of the range of affordability, quality of service will deteriorate to a point of unusability, and meanwhile politicians will get rich. Second, once the government controls the telefone system, monitoring the general public will become infinitely easier. Big Brother will be able to keep and eye, or rather, an ear on the general population, and giant step forward in ultimate government control of peoples' lives will be achieved. Most people won't know anything about this, and even if they do, they won't give a shit because by then the fucking government will have already invaded every remaining private aspect of the individual's life. To those who find it utterly unthinkable that the federal government would ever assume control of the telefone industry, I would call attention to the situation that existed between 1917 and 1919. During this time the government controlled the phone system of the United States. J. Edward Hyde sums it up beautifully: Between 1917 and 1919, the Federal Government did control the phone industry. Since then, the most charitable historians have blamed the subsequent mess on the First World War. Others blame it on the democrats. But the fact is that it was a fiasco of the bureaucracy's own making, combined with intracompany sabotage. Today, in those countries where the phone service is nationally owned, the service runs from poor to nonexistent. Would you want the government that gave you the Russian wheat deals, Defense Department overruns, Amtrak, and the Postal Service handling your phone problems? From: Hyde, J. Edward, The Phone Book. Henry Regnery Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1976. ISBN 0-8092-8008-6, p. 170. Technical References: Notes on the BOC intra-LATA Networks. American Telephone & Telegraph Company, 1983. The Phone Book. J. Edward Hyde, 1976. Bell System Technical Journal. Volume 58, Number 5. Engineering and Operations in the Bell System. American Telephone & Telegraph Company, 1983. Ackowledgements: Karl Marx, Telenet Bob, and the scores of Telco employees in Denver, White Plains, Omaha, and North Jersey who were very helpful in patiently answering my many questions about Equal Access. Thanks to Mack the Knife for magnetic transfer of this illustrious file, a tedious task for which I have no time. Thanks to the following printers for their cooperation and professional manner in helping me with final production of this file: Kinko's Print Shop 7155 West Colfax Lakewood, CO Office Products and Printing 5035 S. Kipling Suite B4 Littleton, CO This has been a Mark Tabas Encounter Series production. Questions, comments, and requests may be addressed to: Tabas P.O. Box 620401 Littleton, CO 80162 Requests for copies of this or any other Encounter Series file are honored for free, but please enclose a self-addressed medium sized first class mailing envelope with 73 cents postage. Special thanks to Steve Reger, who was kind enough to shoot my neighbor's dog, whose incessant barking constantly distracted me as I labored to complete this file.