Originally published: November 4, 2008
Last updated: November 4, 2008 - 7:44pm
[Commentary] In the debate at the Federal Communications Commission about complex plan to restructure how long distance carriers pay local phone companies to complete calls the words many competing interest use to define the fight don't mean anything anymore. Start with this dreadfully inconvenient fact: On today's phone systems, there is virtually no difference between a local call and a long-distance call. The biggest expense of offering local phone service is maintaining the wires to each customer's house (wires which in many cases also carry Internet traffic). In any case, virtually all of the costs of offering phone service are fixed and have nothing to do with how many calls customers make, how long they talk or what distance the calls travel. But you'd never know any of that from looking at the vast apparatus that sets and regulates phone rates.
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