New N.Y. Law Targets Hidden Net LD Tolls

From owner-nanog@merit.edu Thu Aug 18 01:47:56 2005
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 02:44:59 -0400
From: "Eric A. Hall" <ehall@ehsco.com>
Cc: nanog@merit.edu
Subject: Re: New N.Y. Law Targets Hidden Net LD Tolls

> A new law that's apparently the first in the nation threatens to
> penalize Internet service providers that fail to warn users that some
> dial-up numbers can ring up enormous long-distance phone bills even
> though they appear local.

aka, make ISPs liable for other people's fraud. What's the thinking here,
anybody know?

*NOT* "other people's fraud". Just when you have 'intra-LATA' toll charges
for some numbers within a single area-code. If the user is on one side of
the area-code, and the provider's POP is on the far side of it, you can have
a what appears to be a 'local' number, that does incur non-trivial per-minute
charges. Without knowing _where_ a particular prefix is, you can't tell
whether there will be toll charges for that call, or not, from any given
call origin.

Of course, this is true for *every* call in such an area -- if the new law
is actually singling out ISPs (and ISPs -only-), I expect it could be
successfully challenged as 'discriminatory'.

The excessive 'local toll charge' situation is most visible on calls to ISPs,
because those calls tend to be somewhat lengthy -- and frequent -- thus, the
'unexpected' charges can reach significant dollar value before the phone
customer gets their first bill.

Life gets _really_ messy, when the ISP gets phone service from a CLEC,
because there is "no telling" _where_ the ILEC uses as the 'rate point'
for handing the calls off to that CLEC. And the CLEC bills their customers
based on distance from the caller's location to that hand-off point. The
ISP equipment may be across the street from the caller, but the ILEC-CLEC
hand-off is on the far edge of the area-code. and the 'local toll charges'
are applied.

The CLEC can't tell you (and thus, neither can the ISP) which prefixes are a
'non-toll' call to their numbeers. And trying to get an authoritative answer
from the ILEC about what charges are to the CLEC's prefix can be _very_
difficult.

From: owner-nanog@merit.edu [mailto:owner-nanog@merit.edu] On
Behalf Of Robert Bonomi
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 7:43 AM
To: nanog@merit.edu
Subject: Re: New N.Y. Law Targets Hidden Net LD Tolls

> From owner-nanog@merit.edu Thu Aug 18 01:47:56 2005
> Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 02:44:59 -0400
> From: "Eric A. Hall" <ehall@ehsco.com>
> Cc: nanog@merit.edu
> Subject: Re: New N.Y. Law Targets Hidden Net LD Tolls
>
>
>
>
> > A new law that's apparently the first in the nation threatens to
> > penalize Internet service providers that fail to warn
users that some
> > dial-up numbers can ring up enormous long-distance phone
bills even
> > though they appear local.
>
> aka, make ISPs liable for other people's fraud. What's the
thinking here,
> anybody know?

*NOT* "other people's fraud". Just when you have
'intra-LATA' toll charges
for some numbers within a single area-code. If the user is
on one side of
the area-code, and the provider's POP is on the far side of
it, you can have
a what appears to be a 'local' number, that does incur
non-trivial per-minute
charges. Without knowing _where_ a particular prefix is, you
can't tell
whether there will be toll charges for that call, or not,
from any given
call origin.

Pardon my ignorance, but don't most phone companies require 10 digit dialing
for long-distance. We have similar situations in the rural area I live in,
but the customers know if they dial more than 7 digits, it WILL be long
distance.

Of course, this is true for *every* call in such an area --
if the new law
is actually singling out ISPs (and ISPs -only-), I expect it could be
successfully challenged as 'discriminatory'.

Agreed. It's silly to single out ISPs on this one.

The excessive 'local toll charge' situation is most visible
on calls to ISPs,
because those calls tend to be somewhat lengthy -- and
frequent -- thus, the
'unexpected' charges can reach significant dollar value
before the phone
customer gets their first bill.

Agreed, but is this really the ISPs fault, or is it the customer's fault.

Life gets _really_ messy, when the ISP gets phone service
from a CLEC,
because there is "no telling" _where_ the ILEC uses as the
'rate point'
for handing the calls off to that CLEC. And the CLEC bills
their customers
based on distance from the caller's location to that hand-off
point. The
ISP equipment may be across the street from the caller, but
the ILEC-CLEC
hand-off is on the far edge of the area-code. and the 'local
toll charges'
are applied.

The CLEC can't tell you (and thus, neither can the ISP) which
prefixes are a
'non-toll' call to their numbeers. And trying to get an
authoritative answer
from the ILEC about what charges are to the CLEC's prefix can
be _very_
difficult.

I have never come across this, but it may be more of a metro area thing. :slight_smile:

I think in the end this is a typical government attempt to solve a
non-problem. They can easily do public service announcements to inform their
constituents, or ask the phone companies to deal with it as it really is a
problem for them. It is a charge on the hone bill, right. :slight_smile:

- Brian J.

In some cases it can be easy, once you're online (paying
high rates of course :wink: you can visit (in some cases) the telco
websites:

  (eg: input 734-764, then 214-413)

http://localcalling.sbc.com/LCA/lca_input.jsp

  The fun part is, it works for most of the states, except
that most strange/obscure/messed up one, Texas.

  There's also:

  (734-429)

http://www22.verizon.com/CallingAreas/LocalCallFinder/LocalCallFinderSAS.htm

  - Jared

So I signed up for a trial of a spiffy service from RingCentral, who
insist that they have numbers local to Victorville/Apple Valley,
California, USA.

They assigned me 760-301-<mumble>.

301 is Ridgecrest, an hour north of Victorville on US 395, and a toll
call.

But Verizon still allows 7D dialing for toll calls in this part of the
country.

(RingCentral later told me "we just allow you to pick a city to determine
which area code your number will be in" - no, morons, you advertise local
numbers in Victorville, and you should just allow people to pick an area
code without listing cities in that area code.)

And there are plenty of spots around the US where 10D dialing is required
even for local, non-toll calls.

Thus spake "Robert Bonomi" <bonomi@mail.r-bonomi.com>

*NOT* "other people's fraud". Just when you have 'intra-LATA' toll
charges for some numbers within a single area-code. If the user is
on one side of the area-code, and the provider's POP is on the far
side of it, you can have a what appears to be a 'local' number, that
does incur non-trivial per-minute charges. Without knowing _where_
a particular prefix is, you can't tell whether there will be toll charges
for that call, or not, from any given call origin.

That's why some states (e.g. Texas) require that all toll calls be dialed as 1+ _regardless of area code_, and local calls cannot be dialed as 1+. If you dial a number wrong, you get a message telling you how to do it properly (and why).

Sure, this is a little confusing for out-of-towners, but it makes it impossible to accidentally dial a toll call when you think you're dialing a local one, which is the reason the PUC decreed it several decades ago. Apparently NY is just now catching up with rednecks from the 70s.

S

Stephen Sprunk "Those people who think they know everything
CCIE #3723 are a great annoyance to those of us who do."
K5SSS --Isaac Asimov