December in Dubai

Telephony: Sender Pays

In many ways the telephone leaned heavily on the telegraph service for its service model, which, in turn, leaned on the postal service, establishing a provenance for the telephone service model that stretched back over some centuries to at least the 1680s and London’s Penny Post, if not earlier.

The postal service model that gained ascendency over the preceding centuries was one in which the original sender of the letter paid for the entire service of letter delivery. If the postal service that received the letter in the first place needed to use the services of a different postal service to complete the delivery, neither the sender nor the intended recipient were aware of it. The postal services were meant to divide the money received from the sender to deliver the letter, and apportion it between themselves to compensate each service provider for undertaking its part in the delivery of the letter.

The telephone service, for the most part, operates in a very similar fashion. The caller pays for the entire cost of the call, and the called party pays nothing.

Of course, the called party rarely paid nothing. Perhaps no additional charge to receive, but then they had subscribed to the service with the purpose of receiving. So it was that the “free” reception of letters in a box on side of the road, was never akin to the paid reception of calls at a subscribers telephone.

Essential reading for ITU World attendees: Ubiquity is EARNED not ASSUMED

Dial 911!

Emergency calling usually rears its head at this point inthe argument, as an example of the ???greater good??? that customers are only awareof when they really need it. It is used as excuse for continuing the controlled,centralised, federated-telco model.

I think that is a non-sequitur.

I agree that good emergency communications is a must. Italso needs a bottom-up rethink. Nobody sensible would suggest being able tocall 911 from inside voice chat in World of Warcraft (???Police? My sword???s beenstolen???). But nobody sensible would say it???s a bad idea to allow SMS???s to emergencyservices either, yet 20 years on it???s still not possible in most countries.

Emergency calling, by the telcos under threat.

Future of Comms – Time to kill the ‘call’?

Sometimes the obvious stares you in the face for a very long time, without you noticing it. My colleague Dean Bubley truly surpassed himself recently by pointing out the non-obvious obvious: that the whole idea of “calling” someone in the real world is typically rude and interruptive: “Hey ??? YOU! ??? Come here NOW!”.Telephony merely replicates this etiquette error in virtual form.

Thus the very concept of a “telephone call” is flawed from a modern standpoint. What was acceptable when telephony was the only form of real-time mass communication is no longer universally so.

Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking the same: