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The Telecom Digest for February 06, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 33 : "text" Format

xsMessages in this Issue:

Re: New numbering rules for phones in Australia(Gary)
Suicide bomber blown up prematurely by spam text(David Clayton)
Spotlight Again Falls on Web Tools and Change(Monty Solomon)
Re: New numbering rules for phones in Australia(David Clayton)
Bikies trafficking in data secrecy using Mexican BlackBerrys (David Clayton)

====== 29 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======
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Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2011 10:35:57 -0500
From: "Gary" <bogus-email@hotmail.com>
To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org.
Subject: Re: New numbering rules for phones in Australia 
Message-ID: <iijqp4$67i$1@news.eternal-september.org>

"Lisa or Jeff"  wrote in message 
> Why is fibre cable cheaper to maintain than existing copper cable?
> I would guess that the big maintenance expense of outdoor physical
> plant would physical protection against weather and injury and access
> for maintenance.

Two words: water and power.

Since copper phone lines are energized metal, any water that makes it into 
the cable  or equipment causes corrosion, which requires maintenance.  Since 
water almost always finds a way in, copper always will need maintenance. 
Fiber, on the other hand, does not corrode.  Water may make it past the 
outer jacket, but it will be a very, very long time until it damages the 
fiber's ability to carry information.

The other issue is power.  Copper systems often have powered devices between 
the central office and the subscriber.  Be they line concentrators, 
amplifiers, or other devices, they all require power.  These active devices 
add potential failure points that require regular maintenance keep service 
levels up.  If the devices have backup batteries, they will require regular 
inspection and replacement as well.  Fiber, at least the PON variety, has no 
powered devices in the field.  Thus, all of the maintenance related to power 
in the field is eliminated.  (Note: "field" does not include the CO and 
subscriber premise equipment.)

You are correct that both fiber and copper are subject to "back-hoe fade." 
That is typically handled by the network engineers adding redundant routes. 
For non-redundant routes, yes, a truck roll will be required to patch or 
replace the damaged section.  Fiber may be a bit more costly to repair due 
to the special equipment and processes required, but compared to the overall 
maintenance costs it fiber usually comes out ahead.

The bottom line is that PON is requires much less maintenance than copper to 
achieve the same level of reliability.  Couple that with it's ability to 
offer much more advanced services, and you can understand some telco's push 
to deploy it.  Of course, deployment costs are huge compared to the sunk 
costs of 100 years of stringing copper, which is why we don't see everyone 
rushing to switch.


Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2011 10:26:14 +1100 From: David Clayton <dcstar@myrealbox.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Suicide bomber blown up prematurely by spam text Message-ID: <pan.2011.> http://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/the-other-side/suicide-bomber-blown-up-prematurely-by-spam-text/story-e6frfhk6-1225997799793 Suicide bomber blown up prematurely by spam text * Staff writers * From: The Daily Telegraph * February 01, 2011 7:27AM A "BLACK Widow" suicide bomber who planned to detonate explosives in central Moscow was killed when a spam text message from her mobile-phone company set off the device early. News of the botched New Year's Eve operation emerged yesterday as Russian security sources said they had identified the suicide bomber who killed 35 people at a Moscow airport last week. He was a 20-year-old man from the North Caucasus, a spokesman for the national investigative committee said. It was also revealed that the explosive belt the man was wearing had been remotely activated. Terror attacks in Russia have ramped up during recent years, with suicide bombings becoming more common. The "Black Widow" bomber, who has not been named, had intended to detonate the explosives in a busy square on January 31. But a spam message wishing her a happy new year caused it to go off earlier than planned, instantly killing her but not harming others, security sources said. The woman had been at a safe house in Moscow with two other bombers when the device exploded. Mobile phones are often used as detonators by Islamist terrorist groups in Russia. A "handler" who watches the bomber as they move into the target area sends them a text message to detonate the explosives. The phones, which have not been previously used, are usually kept turned off until the last minute. The woman's handler has been named as Zeinat Suyunova, 24, whose husband is in prison for being a member of a radical Islamist terror group. Security services believe the failed bomber may have been part of the group that targeted Moscow's Domodedovo airport last Monday. Thirty-five people were killed and hundreds injured when explosives were detonated in the baggage hall. Both groups of bombers may have been part of a squad that was trained at al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan. Immediately after the airport attack, investigators blamed militant Islamist groups from the North Caucasus, which includes the republics of Chechnya and Dagestan. For more than a decade, radical Islamic groups have been fighting for an independent "emirate" in the North Caucasus, a region that has long been plagued by poverty and high unemployment. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Premier Vladimir Putin to put forward proposals for improved security on public transport throughout Russia.
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2011 22:05:50 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Spotlight Again Falls on Web Tools and Change Message-ID: <p0624086ec973c0504051@[]> Spotlight Again Falls on Web Tools and Change By SCOTT SHANE January 29, 2011 WASHINGTON - Fear is the dictator's traditional tool for keeping the people in check. But by cutting off Egypt's Internet and wireless service late last week in the face of huge street protests, President Hosni Mubarak betrayed his own fear - that Facebook, Twitter, laptops and smartphones could empower his opponents, expose his weakness to the world and topple his regime. There was reason for Mr. Mubarak to be shaken. By many accounts, the new arsenal of social networking helped accelerate Tunisia's revolution, driving the country's ruler of 23 years, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, into ignominious exile and igniting a conflagration that has spread across the Arab world at breathtaking speed. It was an apt symbol that a dissident blogger with thousands of followers on Twitter, Slim Amamou, was catapulted in a matter of days from the interrogation chambers of Mr. Ben Ali's regime to a new government post as minister for youth and sports. It was a marker of the uncertainty in Tunis that he had stepped down from the government by Thursday. Tunisia's uprising offers the latest encouragement for a comforting notion: that the same Web tools that so many Americans use to keep up with college pals and post passing thoughts have a more noble role as well, as a scourge of despotism. It was just 18 months ago, after all, that the same technologies were hailed as a factor in Iran's Green Revolution, the stirring street protests that followed the disputed presidential election. But since that revolt collapsed, Iran has become a cautionary tale. The Iranian police eagerly followed the electronic trails left by activists, which assisted them in making thousands of arrests in the crackdown that followed. The government even crowd-sourced its hunt for enemies, posting on the Web the photos of unidentified demonstrators and inviting Iranians to identify them. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/weekinreview/30shane.html
Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2011 16:05:53 +1100 From: David Clayton <dcstar@myrealbox.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: New numbering rules for phones in Australia Message-ID: <pan.2011.> On Fri, 04 Feb 2011 13:23:24 -0800, Lisa or Jeff wrote: > On Feb 3, 2:57 am, David Clayton <dcs...@myrealbox.com> wrote: > >> As part of the rollout of the NBN (fibre to the premises) the incumbent >> telco is going to gradually decommission all the "copper". They >> continually complain about the upkeep costs of such old plant anyway, >> so it will save people money as the fibre infrastructure maintenance >> should be a lot less over its intended life. > > Obviously fibre has advantages in capacity over copper, but does that > mean existing copper plant should be abandoned? > > Why is fibre cable cheaper to maintain than existing copper cable? I > would guess that the big maintenance expense of outdoor physical plant > would physical protection against weather and injury and access for > maintenance. Wouldn't physical protection costs, such as durable outer > shells, be the same for copper as fibre? If say a car knocks down a > pole carrying lines, isn't the biggest cost labor of the crew to replace > the pole and remount the lines? A lot of the copper infrastructure in Australia has suffered from a chronic lack of maintenance since the dominant telco (Telstra) was privatised a couple of decades ago, so it is becoming increasingly costly to maintain and keep up to a standard capable of satisfying the increasing needs of data use. Telstra keep quoting the increasing maintenance costs as a justification for increasing the costs of their fixed line services when they go to the regulator for price increases. Many people (including me) have also suffered from old copper infrastructure suffering from moisture ingress and other issues. Telstra themselves were already rolling out fibre to "Greenfields" sites instead of copper on a much smaller scale, the NBN covers the whole country (which is about the same overall area as the mainland USA), most of it being serviced by fibre and the sparsely populated remainder by wireless. Part of the deal for the NBN is to run the fibre in the existing Telstra conduits that the copper uses, and I would imagine in some cases there may not be enough room for both. In any case, the lower ongoing cost of the newer fibre infrastructure makes the old copper financially non-viable in the long-term. -- Regards, David. David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.
Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2011 09:46:55 +1100 From: David Clayton <dcstar@myrealbox.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Bikies trafficking in data secrecy using Mexican BlackBerrys Message-ID: <pan.2011.> http://www.theage.com.au/national/bikies-trafficking-in-data-secrecy-using-mexican-blackberrys-20110205-1aht9.html Bikies trafficking in data secrecy using Mexican BlackBerrys Natalie O'Brien February 6, 2011 BIKIE gangs and organised crime groups have foiled police attempts to tap their phones by importing untraceable, encrypted BlackBerrys from Mexico. The telecommunications black hole exploited by the Comancheros gang and drug cartels has come to light after several nations - anxious about terrorism and national security - threatened to ban the Canadian-designed BlackBerry phones unless they were given the codes to break the encryption on emails and instant messages. The Comancheros are understood to have linked up with a Mexican drug cartel importing cocaine into Australia and are sharing the technology. Advertisement: Story continues below ''There is nothing strange in organised crime having better access to technology than the authorities,'' said Michael Kennedy, a former police detective and an academic at the University of Western Sydney. ''The bikies are becoming more entrepreneurial and, after all, organised crime is a business enterprise. Crime groups will share technology if it helps them.'' The Comancheros are believed to use the phones sourced from Mexico with global roam activated. The roaming facility is expensive but criminals believe it is priceless to have communications that cannot be monitored. What makes the BlackBerry so hard to ''tap'' is that Mexico has no reliable register of handsets, mobile numbers, or users. Vendors are unregistered and sell the phones and SIM cards for cash, no questions asked. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has reported that Mexico has 83 million mobile phones and government attempts to establish an official registry were failing. In addition, the information carried on the encrypted BlackBerry messaging service is routed through a server that Australian authorities have not been able to access. It is not known how many of the phones are used by organised crime groups in Australia. However, experts agree that the criminals will keep the technology advantage to themselves as long as they can. ''The Australian Crime Commission is aware that organised crime networks will continually take opportunities, some real and some imagined, to use new technologies to try and escape the law,'' chief executive John Lawler said. The Australian Federal Police would not comment on whether they had seized any Mexican phones. But a spokesman said the the force was working with law enforcement authorities and industry groups to ensure it was up to speed ''on the challenges posed by criminal networks''. Last year The Age revealed that the feared Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel was regularly importing cocaine into Australia. It was also revealed that several men with ties to Mexico, the US and Guatemala had set up a drug distribution network in New South Wales, which is now understood to have included links to the Comancheros. Almost a dozen countries have raised security fears about encrypted BlackBerry phones.
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