Happy New Year [telecom]

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Happy New Year! It's 2018!

As in years past, I'd like to have the readers' opinions on ways to
make The Telecom Digest a better publication and a better source for
information and telecom advice. Please write to me here at the usual
digest address, or at my private email address, which is "bill at
horne dot net." If you write to the digest address, but would rather
not have your remarks posted, add the Not For Publication glyph to
your Subject line - [nfp] - instead of the usual [telecom].

The first question I'll ask is this: "What future do you see for The
Telecom Digest?" This isn't a rhetorical question, because the Network
Neutrality rules have been sacked and that will mean dramatic changes
for *ALL* non-profit outlets, not just the Digest. Consider the
players and the pressures:

* ISP's might limit Access to Usenet servers, either by demanding
  tribute from places like eternal-september.org, or by gouging their
  subscribers for more money. Some will do both, but few are likely to
  do neither.

* Universities have already set up "Internet 2" connections to carry
  their traffic without censorship or pay-per-byte charges, but the
  Internet's "ordinary" users aren't likely to be offered such options
  unless they have the means to buy them wholesale.

* Other bypass networks will be rare: the orginal idea of FidoNet was
  to allow wide-area message transport without requiring long-distance
  call from one Bulletin Board to another, and although I'd like to
  see the paradigm revivied, it's unlikely that the ILECs or CLECs
  would tolerate modem traffic again: they only allow '14.4' traffic
  now because it's almost always between fax machines, and not even a
  Republican Congress would dare to order every business to abandon
  fax machines.

* Usenet seems to be in a death spiral, and the changes I suggested
  while I was on the Big-8 Board aren't likely to come about. At some
  point, comp.dcom.telecom might cease to exist: that would leave the
  mailing list, of course, but only a fraction of my readers subscribe
  to it.

* The ISPs - and the backbone providers - will all want a lot more of
  the advertising revenue that sites like facebook now receive, and
  they will take the easy route and demand extra fees for "social
  media" tiers of service, plus the ability to substitute their own
  ads for the ones users would normally receive. There will be a
  wild-west game for a few months or even years, but then the
  advertisers will demand better control and accounting, and there
  will be a new compromise that leaves the ISPs with a lot more money -
  and the ISPs' users will a lot more hidden charges on their bills.

It's a dreary world I'm forecasting, isn't it? Nothing lasts forever,
including the innocence and community spirit of Usenet or the Internet
outside of the "point and drool" world of the big web-based
providers. In a way, I hope they get bigger, or at least big enough
that Verizontal and Comcrap and the other petty dictators will leave
Usenet alone in their rush to squeeze FaceYaGoogTube for more and

The second qustion is even more important: What are *YOUR* feelings,
and what do *YOU* forecast?


Bill Horne
(Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)

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