Telecommunications guru Bruce Kushwick on why phone rates are rising:
But charges for local service are only part of the deceptive price increases that phone companies, encouraged by the federal government, are passing on to consumers. Long distance charges for AT&T have gone up 237 percent for low-volume users since 2000, and about 80 percent for average customers. AT&T’s “basic rate” is now 42 cents a minute, and with added charges the rate can range from 50 cents to $1 a minute.
Despite these increases, FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman Kevin J. Martin says rates have been decreasing sharply – a free-fall is how he puts it, adopting a phrase used in a 2005 report of the Phoenix Center, a phone company-funded group.
Kushwick, if you recall, was the person who claims that the Big Bells owe American citizens $200 billion (that’s $2000 per household) for fiber optic cable it promised to build (and received enormous government subsidies for.
(The answer, if you have high-speed connection, is using Skype In/Skype Out. $15 per year for unlimited calling and long distance, $30 per year for a telephone number in your own area code). See this article for more details). Then use a prepaid plan for roaming. Virgin Mobile prepaid is 18 cents a minute, minimum of $20 for 3 months.
On another issue, Houston Technology reporter Dwight Silverman speculates about the 2009 Muni Wifi deployment. I wonder how easily skype can be used on it for pda’s.