Carterfone Ruling and today's telco'sSat Sep 1, 2012 15:04126.96.36.199Carterfone Ruling and today's telco's
Correct me if I'm wrong but if the telco's involved in the 1968 Carterfone ruling have since gotten into the wireless business, would it not be applicable to that portion of their business as well?
"This particular device was involved in a landmark United States regulatory decision related to telecommunications. The 1968 Federal Communications Commission allowed the Carterfone and other devices to be connected directly to the AT&T network, as long as they did not cause damage to the system. This ruling (13 F.C.C.2d 420) created the possibility of selling devices that could connect to the phone system and opened up the market to numerous products, including answering machines, fax machines, cordless phones, computer modems and the early, dialup Internet.
In February 2007, a petition was filed with the FCC by Skype, requesting the FCC to apply the Carterfone regulations to the Wireless industry - which would mean that OEMs, portals and others will be able to offer wireless devices and services without the Cellular operators needing to approve the handsets."
Back in 1968, before Carterfone, AT&T controlled the entire United States telecommunications systems. AT&T's manufacturing arm, Western Electric, made all the equipment that connected to the phone system. Nobody owned their own phones. If you had phone service, you leased a phone from AT&T. No one was allowed to connect their own phones or computers equipment to AT&T's network. There were no answering machines or modems. There were no computers connected to phone lines. There was no Internet—except for the closed, private military network.
The Carterfone is a device invented by Thomas Carter. It manually connects a two-way mobile radio system to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), making it a direct predecessor to today's autopatch.
The device was acoustically, but not electrically, connected to the public switched telephone network. It was electrically connected to the base station of the mobile radio system, and got its power from the base station. All electrical parts were encased in bakelite, an early plastic. When someone on the CB radio wished to speak to someone on phone, or "landline" (eg, "Central dispatch, patch me through to McGarrett"), the station operator at the base would dial the telephone number. When callers on the radio and on the telephone are both in contact with the base station operator, the handset of the operator's telephone is placed on a cradle in the Carterfone device. A voice-operated switch in the Carterfone automatically switches on the radio transmitter when the telephone caller is speaking; when he stops speaking, the radio returns to a receiving condition. A separate speaker is attached to the Carterfone to allow the base station operator to monitor the conversation, adjust the voice volume, and hang up his telephone when the conversation has ended.
Landmark regulatory decisionThis particular device was involved in a landmark United States regulatory decision related to telecommunications. In 1968, the Federal Communications Commission allowed the Carterfone and other devices to be connected directly to the AT&T network, as long as they did not cause harm to the system. This ruling (13 F.C.C.2d 420) created the possibility of selling devices that could connect to the phone system using a protective coupler, and opened the market to customer-owned equipment. The decision is often referred-to as "any lawful device", allowing later innovations like answering machines, fax machines, and modems (which initially used the same type of manual acoustic coupler as the Carterfone) to proliferate.
In February 2007, a petition for rulemaking was filed with the FCC by Skype, requesting the FCC to apply the Carterfone regulations to the wireless industry — which would mean that OEMs, portals and others will be able to offer wireless devices and services without the cellular operators needing to approve the handsets. However, on 1 April 2008 FCC chairman Kevin Martin indicated that he would oppose Skype's request.  As of 2009, there is renewed interest due to a new chairman being selected by the Obama administration, and the opposition to the vendor lock-in practices which have limited consumers' freedom of choice in both voice and data services. The FCC has indicated that it is unlikely to take action on Wireless Carterfone beyond a possible rule requiring carriers to unlock handsets at the end of their contract periods.
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- Carterfone Ruling and today's telco's APFN, Sat Sep 1 15:04