RE: New N.Y. Law Targets Hidden Net LD Tolls

*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

Not in densely populated urban areas. In NYC there are at least 5 area
codes (212, 516, 917, 646, 347) that are local calls. You can also get
extended local calling that adds several more area codes (914, 518, and I
think one more). In fact you have to do 10-digit dialing for any call in
NYC now, even if you're just calling next door.

Things are very different in rural areas where each town has a single
exchange. In the 80s I was still dialing only 4 digits to call people in
the same town. The next town over has a different exchange, but was part of
the same local telco coop, so it was 7 digit dialing but still local. The
entire state had one area code (still does), but I think you had to use 1+
to call any toll number.

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.

Any reasonable ISP is already warning customers that numbers that appear
local may not be local. Way back in 95 I was working for a NY/NJ-based ISP
that was trying to grow rapidly and we ran into this a lot, especially in
NJ. After a handful of VERY irate customers called complaining about $500
phone bills, we got much better at knowing exactly where the toll lines
were. We also worked with the Bell Atlantic to reduce the bills and started
posting disclaimers. We would also do the work to ensure that a call was a
local call if the customer asked, and explain to them how they could often
get an expanded calling area for a small fee.

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.

I think the fault lies with both. If an ISP is telling customers that they
have local dialup numbers, the customer is likely going to believe the ISP.
Sure mistakes happen, but if it keeps happening to a given ISP, maybe it is
the ISP'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
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_

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:

It's a very common problem in densely populated suburban areas. It's
probably not much of a problem in North Dakota.

I'm kind of perplexed why Mr. Spitzer is proposing this now though. It's
not like dial-up is a growth market. I guess there are still people just
getting their first internet connection and starting with dial-up. This
might have had more traction 8-10 years ago, when people really were getting
saddled with $500 phone bills.