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Re: California Declares Free Market Broken, Recommends Price Controls For Phone Services
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 19:09:21 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Bob Frankston" <Bob19-0501 () bobf frankston com>
Date: August 17, 2008 6:32:32 PM EDT
To: "'Bruce Kushnick'" <bruce () newnetworks com>, "'Open Infrastructure Alliance'" <oia () lists bway net> Subject: Re: [OIA] [IP] California Declares Free Market Broken, Recommends Price Controls For Phone Services

They bill for local service?? Why?

Yes, it’s 100% politics because there is nothing to be charged for. It’s not just the lack of competition but the complete bogus idea that phone bits are so very special that you can charge people for them even though you can’t charge for email bits or video bits.

It makes no more sense that requiring a postage stamp for email. You don’t win by negotiating the price down by 90%.

From: oia-bounces () lists bway net [mailto:oia-bounces () lists bway net] On Behalf Of Bruce Kushnick
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2008 03:47
To: 'Open Infrastructure Alliance'
Subject: Re: [OIA] [IP] California Declares Free Market Broken, Recommends Price Controls For Phone Services

>That’s all we need – someone fixing the price of phone calls so that it doesn’t fall to the natural price of $0.00.

Bob, the fixing is not about long distance, but about local services, though long distance has also gone through the roof because of added plan fees, bogus charges, etc. Your idea that calls are free is a political problem, not a technical one and it will never be free for the majority of the US under the current Regulatorium.

Teletruth is currently working with a group called UCAN in San Diego on a grant from the California Consumer Protection Board. --- Our study is to examine what happened to prices since 2004… when we did our first survey.

With over 600 wireline/cable bills, and a few hundred wireless bills, --- the price didn’t just go up,

On the local side, we found that virtually every charge has been ratcheted up --- just like the article claims, and almost all of those services are stuff like Caller ID, Call Waiting, directory, local phone calls. – This is

However, we also found:

A) there’s no longer competition. It is an unbalanced duopoly between (in san Diego) Cox and AT&T, which has almost 80% of the phone markets, but also controls 95% of LD on their bills, not to mention offering DSL, --- B) Since 2004, legacy AT&T and MCI have been harvesting customers – meaning continue to raise rates until people leave. Many simply didn’t and are paying $.50-$1.00 a minute when you add in all the additional fees. C) No one has a package, but are paying ala carte for LD and local. (unlike Verizon. --- However, the AT&T customers (the majority) make only 87 minutes of calls --- so, packages actually cost more and harm about 75% of the population. D) The FCC’s data on the market is pure fiction – based on actual phone bills. Only 2% of AT&T customers are paying the average $.06 cents a minute when you actually examine the customer’s bills by ‘accounts’ the FCC merges all of the high-volume customers *(less than 25%) with the low and medium volume customers. E) There are multiple Truth-in billing, truth in advertising and merger violations.

By killing off virtually all of the competition, we can now prove competition does not exist in San Diego. --- We’re looking for funding to do a nationwide survey next as we believe it will reveal almost identical stats.

And to address bob – your’ not typical user. In fact, your grandma or aunt would be the typical user – few calls, all costs. The most insidious, which many lifeline customers have are unlisted numbers and wire-pro, now $6.00 a month. (it used to be included in the cost of local service.

Most people do not care about phone service, it is a utility, they don’t shop, there aren’t any serious choices and so, if you don’t step in an return some regulation over price, they can continue to raise rates…


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