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Talk Is Cheap by James E Gaskin

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What’s Old Is New Again: Internet Telephony from Phone Companies

You didn’t think the traditional telephone companies were going to shuffle quietly off to retirement, did you? They have this strange idea that because they developed the world’s best telephone network in the first place, they should be able to keep our business no matter the technology used to carry the conversation from phone to phone.

Note

Acronym Alert:

ILEC = Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier and RBOC = Regional Bell Operating Company

When AT&T split, the local telephone service in the United States was split into seven companies called Regional Bell Operating Companies. These seven merged down to four: SBC, Verizon, BellSouth, and Qwest. One of these four companies controls the copper pair of wires providing telephone service to your home.

Surprisingly, these old guard traditional telephone companies aren’t thrilled to see various broadband phone companies stealing all their customers. Worse, all their dirty tricks over the years (filing lawsuits to keep companies from tying into the telephone network and refusing service so often that the courts regularly had to step in and force these phone companies to follow the laws) have used up most of the good will people had for them. Remember back when most of us hated the cable company but loved—okay, trusted— the phone company? Now most of us hate both, or worse, ignore both and rely on our Internet Service Provider.

That said, the traditional phone companies are willing ...

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