Comments on: Phone service for all, no matter what kind Sat, 23 Mar 2013 13:49:31 +0000 hourly 1 By: landline Sun, 30 Sep 2012 18:20:26 +0000 There are no landlines to be purchased in my area of Federal Way, WA.98023. What if there is a National Emergency and all of the cell phones are knocked out? A landline was always working in the past. I’m very disappointed that my phone jacks are now worthless.

By: gracefoster Thu, 02 Aug 2012 16:09:07 +0000 Speaking as one of those who chose to live in “rural” America, my AT&T landline was recently disabled by lightening. Calling AT&T repair service was like talking to a brick wall, but someone finally made it out here after 5 days of calls.

I was calling for AT&T repair service on my Verizon cell phone, but I had to take the phone outside and hold it in a certain way in order to hear them. One of the suggestions made by the AT&T recorded message was to report my problem online using their website. However, our computers depend on our DSL connection which, of course, was cut off when the landline was damaged. I could have driven to a “computer cafe” or some other wifi hotspot to do an online report, but the nearest town is 14 miles away and gas is now quite expensive. So I checked my satellite TV every day to get the weather forecast, hoping we wouldn’t have more storms, that is…….until the rain interfered with the satellite transmission making the TV a “weather permitting” appliance.

The last time our phone line was in need of repair a BellSouth repair man was here in one day. Since AT&T has taken over BellSouth, they’ve cut the repair crew by 40% and raised the overall rate. Do they want to cut our service completely, you bet!

I could become resigned to paying more for a reliable connection to the rest of the world, but tell me what that would be. Satellite, where all our connections would be weather permitting?

By: DavidCayJ Sat, 09 Jun 2012 17:10:53 +0000 I wrote the Reuters column with two charts that have drawn so many critical comments.

Too bad that posters like RoadbedGuy did not read the actual column, which addresses the concerns raised, nor took a moment to look at the body of my work rather than just the brief excerpt at DailyKos.

My column details how a single worker making $61,500 pays an income and payroll tax rate of 30.3%, exactly half again the income and payroll tax rate of the top 400.

I encourage people here to read my other columns on such matters as

1. 2,700 companies that pocket their workers’ state income taxes without the workers knowing ton/2012/04/12/taxed-by-the-boss/

2. the real median wage falling back to the level of 1999 ton/2011/10/19/first-look-at-us-pay-data -its-awful/

3. 37% of all income gains in America went to just 15,600 households in 2010 ton/2012/03/15/the-richest-get-richer/

4. Norquist’s drive, supported by some leading Democrats, to spread gambling to avopid tax increases ton/2012/03/30/politicians-keep-placing- bets/

5. How you pay taxes that utilities permanently pocket ton/2012/03/30/politicians-keep-placing- bets/ or, thanks to GWBush administration machinations, collect taxes from you that they are exempt from paying over to government ton/2011/10/17/pipeline-profiteering/

6. How women in the same job (president, top executive) as men get paid less ton/2011/10/26/underpaid-women-and-their -men/

7. How AT&T and Verizon are working to take away your legal rights in telecommunications and what it means ton/2012/03/28/phone-service-for-all-no- matter-what-kind/

A column is not a book. If you want a detailed explanation of how our tax system subtly redistributes up, not down as widely believed, read my books PERFECTLY LEGAL (taxes) and FREE LUNCH (subsidies) and THE FINE PRINT, my forthcoming book on how corporations work with government to thwart competition, raise prices and put you in danger from rules few know about.

By: hightechlowlife Sun, 15 Apr 2012 22:59:13 +0000 AT&T is jettisoning its legacy ratepayers by contracting with offshore “telemarketers” to harass them.

Lifeline ratepayers have been getting multiple calls daily from Online Yellow Pages, Heather from Account Services, cruise lines, you name it–whether they are on the Do-Not-Call list or not–until they give up their landline in frustration.

True facts here.

By: DavidCayJ Sun, 08 Apr 2012 13:14:58 +0000 Columnist here:

An April 7 letter to a Pittsburgh newspaper ghtrib/opinion/letters/s_790239.html by Verizon executive Carl E. Erhart opens with two false assertions about my Reuters column ton/2012/03/28/phone-service-for-all-no- matter-what-kind/
while ignoring the issues I raised.

Erhart begins by inventing my “misplaced nostalgia” for landline phones. Compare this to what I wrote:

**New technology means telephone services will change, just as
internal combustion engines replaced the horse-and-cart with
automobiles. We don’t want regulations requiring the equivalent
of a buggy whip in every car trunk.**

Erhart cites “my suggestions” that consumers lack choice in telephone technology, yet alternatives permeate my column.

Significantly, the Verizon executive ignores the issues my column raised including

— lack of access where cell phones do not work and VoIP is unavailable;
— the higher prices for these alternatives;
— health and safety issues, especially for the elderly on Lifeline service;
— lack of power by customers in disputes with Verizon under new laws it sought; Verizon leaving vast populated areas in New Jersey (and elsewhere) without FiOS;
— and the need for “a balanced policy rather than quietly rewriting laws to benefit one industry.”

I invite Erhard to forthrightly address the issues he ignored by posting here so Reuters readers can judge these issues on the merits.

By: royu Thu, 05 Apr 2012 16:41:38 +0000 While Mr. Johnston is a recognized expert on taxes and tax policy, he has more to learn about communications law and policy. Universal service is a federal mandate, not a state matter.
While there are rumblings that the FCC is considering lowering the telecom payments into that fund — thereby putting low income people in rural areas at risk of losing their land lines — that’s the story. The states have little involvement in this issue. And if state PUCs have acted in the manner alleged in this story, you can be sure the FCC will respond.

By: DavidCayJ Tue, 03 Apr 2012 20:00:58 +0000 @newadvocate,

My column explains this. It began in 1913 and was later written into the state laws that AT&T and Verizon, and some smaller phone companies, have gotten quietly repealed in four states and are seeking to repeal — also quietly — in others.

By: newadvocate Tue, 03 Apr 2012 00:20:54 +0000 When did having a landline become an American Right? Did I miss that in the constitution or something?

By: DavidCayJ Mon, 02 Apr 2012 12:50:56 +0000 @ Spall78 & WIBroker, the laws that are remaking telephone service identify as their goal access for all at reasonable prices. 78Spall, we have a system to subsidize rural callers, but much of the money goes to other purposes, a subject for another column, and as I point out existing alternate technologies are flawed and in some areas useless.

@CapitalismSays, as my column states what we need is a balanced policy to address this.

@jscott418, no one is “blaming” the phone companies, but rather pointing out that they are quietly getting laws rewritten without their customers or the public generally knowing about. The result is new laws that do not balance various interests, but rather do what the companies want.

By: WaltFrench Sun, 01 Apr 2012 20:27:13 +0000 Universal service was an important way to build out the network and bring all Americans together in their way. Today, however, fewer and fewer people live remotely, and they do so in large part to avoid being too close to others. There’s no reason to pay more and more to a shrinking pool of people who are just NOT that interested in having phone service.

But with a large fraction of Americans cutting the cord — going wireless-only — the extra expense of maintaining lines in remote locations is falling increasingly on a shrinking base of landline customers. This can only accelerate people abandoning landlines, creating a bit of a race to the bottom, in which only remote users will find the costs acceptable.

Not ALL remote users want to be less connected, but it has to be recognized that many choose to live in rural Arkansas or Colorado for the purpose of avoiding big-city costs, commotion and complexity. This is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle choice, but I can’t figure out why Americans who pay the higher cost of being close to friends, coffee shops and the like, should also subsidize people who don’t want anything of the sort.

Phone service is regulated in every one of the 50 states, right? Why is it not reasonable for a state PUC to create a “low density surcharge” based on the extra costs in rural areas, and have people who want to be away from it all, pay a fair share of the costs of staying in touch?