[FoRK] PSTN and regs
dan at geer.org
dan at geer.org
Sun Feb 9 20:38:32 PST 2014
Some if not most of you have seen this:
AT&T plan to shut off Public Switched Telephone Network moves ahead at FCC
and, in it, I refer to this excerpt:
AT&T wants to get rid of obsolete PSTN equipment, and those pesky
FCC rules. The type of technology used would be up to the
carrier. In rural areas where it's expensive to wire up every
home, carriers might try to shift everyone to wireless service.
AT&T has said that in 25 percent of its customer locations,
"it's currently not economically feasible to build a competitive
IP wireline network," so it would use 4G LTE instead "to offer
voice and high-speed IP Internet services."
There will be concerns about reliability of wireless services,
particularly during power outages, but the FCC official said
Wheeler isn't reflexively for or against wireless as a replacement
for the PSTN.
As I've written elsewhere, I have begun to opt out of various
new services as, to my analysis anyway, their downside issues
outweigh their upsides. I will not use a radio to communicate
in the way that is now being hypothecated, and my living
arrangements will soon be decidedly more rural than even they
For this audience, I do not need to catalog the attack surface
growth or even the failure mode proliferations that follow
replacing a low tech, fully amortized copper plant that carries
its own power and works under near total bandwidth degradation.
I probably do not need to point out that what is said to be "not
economically feasible" in 2014 was, comparatively speaking, far
less feasible in the 1930s when the PSTN went in.
Some if not most of you are using mobile phones for which, as we
know, baseband attacks have no mitigation. Some if not most of
you have the habit of rolling your own in various ways that
might well include running copper wire from punchdown blocks.
Some if not most of you have some degree of admiration for, if
not quiet imitation of, the prepper community. Some if not most
of you do, in fact, choose services only after consideration of
the downside v. upside that goes well beyond "Is it free?"
When the ocean begins to pull away from the shore, run like hell
in the opposite direction.
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