Sunday, July 02, 2006

Talking telephone numbers

Is the telephone system in the UK FUBAR? Not the physical wiring and equipment, but the administration of it? Austringer thinks it's being abused to extort us customers, instead of providing a cheap and universal means of communication.
In Britain, as far as I know, the Telcos consist of BT and a number of cable and mobile companies, all regulated by Oftel. Calls to and from mobile phones cost much more than landline calls. Everybody offers special rates for local and off peak calls. They all have overheads and they all have to make a profit. That's the basic economics of the system, the devil is in the details - what numbers are applied.
I know that every month I pay so much to AOL for my internet access, and a bit more to BT for my phone. The amounts are not excessive and I can easily afford them. I don't have a mobile phone (gasp!). I don't know whether I am a typical user of the system, or a dinosaur. (I do have a blog though!)
How much should we pay for our telephones, given TANSTAAFL? Is the system FUBAR or merely SNAFU?

Abbreviations glossary:
UK : United Kingdom
FUBAR : Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition
BT : British Telecom
AOL : America On Line
TANSTAAFL : There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
SNAFU : Situation Normal - All Fouled Up
(NB: The Fouled in FUBAR and SNAFU may be replaced by an appropriate expletive.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I heard more kvetching about rates in the UK while I was a Fidonet bulletin board operator. What was being stated then were per-minute charges that were multiples of what was current in the USA. Fidonet worked on a store-and-forward networking model, which was used to transfer data at off-peak times. Off-peak, according to the Fidonet sysops in the UK, was still quite a lot. This was in the early 1990s. If it has gotten better since then, that would be a good thing.

Wesley R. Elsberry