September 16, 2011
Members of the Richmond County Historical Society will meet Monday at Rockingham City Hall at 7 p.m. to hear the history of Ellerbe Telephone Company from the company president, Dan Bennett. The meeting is open to the public.
Bennett will trace the family-owned telephone company from its founding in 1915 to the present. Those attending will be invited to participate by adding to Bennett’s presentation with their personal recollections related to telephone service in the county.
Telephone service had the ability to tie together a community.
“The operators knew who had recently called an Ellerbe family doctor, and where he probably was in case another family member needed to reach him,” said Neal Cadieu, society member. “And, they certainly knew much more about Ellerbe’s social life.”
From manned switchboards and party lines to Wi-Fi service, the presentation will demonstrate how Ellerbe Telephone Company has been at the forefront of innovation in the telephone service in Richmond County.
In other news:
- The Executive Board of the Richmond County Historical Society met on Sept. 6 in the Carriage House of the Leak-Wall House.
- According to the Historical Society’s monthly newsletter, the 1971 American LaFrance fire truck of the Richmond County Historical Society took a trip in August to a school event held at the Rockingham Moose Lodge. Society member Ed Snyder said even though it rained the day of the event, it went well. Snyder keeps the truck in working order so it will be available for the Richmond County Christmas Parade in Hamlet and other community events.
- Betty Wilson, through the Richmond County Cooperative Extension, asked the Historical Society to participate in a booth to be featured at the county’s 54th Annual Richmond County Agricultural Fair to be held Sept. 20-24 at the Hamlet fairgrounds with gates opening at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 2 p.m. Saturday. Society member Neal Cadieu said he provided her with pictures and information to be used in the display.
- Copies of the book, “Camp Mackall and its times in the Sandhills of North Carolina,” have been donated to the Historical Society and will be sold by the society on Amazon.com and the society’s website. Other books available through the society include, “No Ordinary Lives, Richmond County 1750-1900,” “Mixed Blessings, Richmond County 1900-2000,” and “The Architectural Survey of Richmond County, North Carolina.”
- The Leak-Wall House Garden rental for weddings has increased to five this year; one more than last year. Two are scheduled this month. For a fee the garden and/or house are available for all occasions. For rental, contact Neal Cadieu at (910) 895-1660.
- Trudy Watkins has donated to the society an original pencil sketch which is an illustration depicting a portion of a story entitled, “The Ride Down New Hill,” in the book, “Cotton Mill Cowboys,” by Richard Thorpe, July 1984. The sketch was drawn by Thorpe, and is of a boy inside a vehicle tire, rolling down a hill. It now hangs on a wall on the second floor of the Leak-Wall House.
-The executive committee of the society approved Ken Anderson CPA to administer accounting business for the society.
- Ned H. Dawkins presented the Richmond County Historical Society Genealogy Committee a copy of the “Dawkins Family Genealogy 1668-2010” which he compiled.
- The committee’s collection of information on General Henry William Harrington is continuing to expand.
- Requests for information from the committee are received through the email address email@example.com, or by writing to the Genealogy Committee, P.O. Box 1763 Rockingham, N.C. 28380. While such information is shared, there is a fee for genealogy research which requires much time, travel and material cost.
- Material on Richmond County Schools stored at the Leak-Wall House has been reviewed by the Genealogy Committee and pertinent genealogical material removed.
Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal – Dan Bennett to present Ellerbe Telephone Company’s history
September 14, 2011
In order to focus attention on programs that assist low-income Kentuckians with the cost of telephone service, Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed Sept. 12-18, 2011 as “Lifeline Awareness Week” in Kentucky. “Telephone service is indeed a lifeline that no household should be without,” Gov. Beshear said. “It is a critical link to the outside world for the homebound, or for anyone dealing with an illness or other emergency.
“Two programs offer assistance to Kentuckians who might otherwise be unable to afford basic telephone service,” Gov. Beshear said. “The Lifeline program helps pay for monthly service, while the related Link-Up program pays a portion of the installation costs.”
More than 250,000 Kentucky households participate in the Lifeline program, a lower proportion of households than in many neighboring states, Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman David Armstrong said. That indicates that there are many eligible Kentuckians who do not participate in the program, he said.
“The Lifeline and Link-Up programs offer eligible households an opportunity to reduce the monthly cost of essential utility services,” Armstrong said. “The PSC encourages anyone who thinks they may be eligible to apply through their local telephone provider.”
The Lifeline program provides a reduction in the monthly basic phone service charge for either landline or wireless service and also waives deposits and activation charges. Link-Up offers a one-time credit of up to $30 for installation of telephone service.
“These are tough economic times that have left many Kentuckians struggling to pay their bills every month,” Gov. Beshear said. “Lifeline and Link-Up can ease that struggle by reducing the cost of obtaining and maintaining a vital service.”
Kentucky Lifeline Awareness Week is part of a national effort to build awareness of and participation in Lifeline and Link-Up. It is being coordinated by the National Association of Utility Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC), in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, The Kentucky PSC is a member of NARUC.
“Many eligible Kentuckians probably do not know that these programs are available,” Chairman Armstrong said. “We hope that increasing awareness will increase participation.”
Eligibility for Lifeline and Link-Up is established through participation in other programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps or the National School Free Lunch Program. Participants may not have an unpaid and overdue balance on their telephone bill or must have a current payment arrangement to pay any outstanding balance.
Lifeline and Link-Up are funded through a small charge on all telephone bills.
More information is available on the PSC Web site at http://psc.ky.gov/agencies/psc/consumer/lifeline.pdf
Continue reading on Examiner.com Kentucky offers free telephone service for food stamp recipients – Louisville CIty Hall | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/city-hall-in-louisville/kentucky-offers-free-telephone-service-for-food-stamp-recipients#ixzz1XvyM4F2k
September 13, 2011
read this article from NJ.COM – A true eye opener
Want a lower telephone bill?
Of course you do. We all do.
But when an offer for cheaper service came via a telephone call to Janet Goldstein of North Brunswick, something didn’t sound right.
“The woman said that next month, the cost of our telephone service would be 40 percent lower and that we would receive local and long-distance calling for $19.99 instead of the $48.99 which we were now paying,” Goldstein said.
“Then she asked me if I was a Verizon customer and I said yes,” she said.
The caller never identified herself as a Verizon rep, or as a rep from any other company, for that matter.
“It certainly sounded like she was from Verizon,” said Goldstein, 66, noting her number is on the national “Do Not Call” registry, so she wasn’t expecting a telemarketing call. “If she was calling from Verizon, she would not have to ask if I was a Verizon customer. Why would anyone else be calling about landline service?”
Because slamming is back, that’s why.
Slamming is the illegal practice of swapping a consumer’s telephone service company without permission. Slammers sometimes get their victims through trickery, such as adding consent for a switch to the fine print of a promotional offer or coupon, while others simply deceive potential marks with telephone calls, calls very much like the one Goldstein received.
But Goldstein is no mark. She and her husband Bernard, 72, were suspicious before the call was completed.
Bernard retrieved the telephone number from the phone’s memory — (800) 690-9950 — and their Caller ID showed the same number had called several times before. Goldstein contacted Verizon to report her suspicions. Verizon said no one had tried to switch the couple’s service yet, and it would institute a block so no one could change their service without the Goldstein’s authorization.
The Verizon rep also identified the company on the other side of the slamming telephone call: Cordia Communications.
Who is Cordia?
That’s a question Bamboozled has been unable to answer, despite messages left at four toll-free numbers and two e-mail addresses.
The website boasts, “From a single home phone line to comprehensive business solutions, Cordia Communications connects you to the world.”
But it can’t seem to connect Bamboozled with someone who can comment on the company’s behalf.
None of our messages were returned.
So far in 2011, there were six complaints against Cordia on record with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Half were resolved in the consumer’s favor, and half in favor of the company.
There have been six slamming complaints lodged against Cordia with the state’s Bureau of Public Utilities since Jan. 1, 2010.
“Upon investigation, there were no slamming violations found,” said BPU spokesman Greg Reinert. “Cordia was able to provide proof of customer consent. Phone calls are recorded.”
(Hmmm. See tip No. 3, below.)
Slamming has fallen by the wayside over the past decade, noted Tom MacGuire, senior vice president for national operations for Verizon, the Goldstein’s carrier. But as consumers in this economy look for ways to cut costs, he said, disreputable companies see an opportunity.
“It’s like anybody else in a predatory relationship,” MacGuire said. “These guys are taking advantage of someone looking for a better deal, and who doesn’t want a better deal? I think the whole practice is rather disgusting.”
Cordia is nothing if not persistent.
Two days after the Goldsteins’ requested their number be blocked, they continued to receive calls.
The phone rang yet again on Aug. 16, Janet Goldstein said, and it was the same Cordia rep with the same pitch. Goldstein told her not to call again.
“I contacted Bamboozled because I feel that this is some sort of scam,” she said. “If they were a legitimate company selling a legitimate service, they would say who they are and what the benefits of their service are. But they don’t do this.”
DON’T GET SLAMMED
Here are tips to avoid getting slammed, courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission and the National Consumer League.
1. Don’t return calls to numbers that you don’t recognize. You could be calling a number that results in switching your phone service.
2. Be wary of unsolicited offers. Calls that offer to lower your phone costs should be suspect.
3. Sometimes slammers create phony verification that customers agreed to switch. For example, someone posing as a rep from your telephone company may ask if you are satisfied with your service or if you’re interested in a new discount plan. A “yes” answer could be tape-recorded and used as proof that you agreed to switch. Also be wary of telephone surveys about your telephone service, which can be telemarketing in disguise. If you say “yes” to any of the surveyor’s questions, the answers may be taped and used later as verification of your agreement to switch your service.
4. Read the fine print. Contest entry forms, coupons or other promotional materials might include an agreement to switch your phone service. Federal law requires that written agreements to change phone service must be separate documents and not part of a prize package. If the company offers a monetary check to get you to switch, the check must state clearly on the front and on the back, in the signature area, that you agree to change your service.
5. Check your phone bill carefully. If you notice a new company name, call the number and ask for an explanation.
6. Ask your local telephone company about to freeze or block your phone service to prevent it from being switched unless you confirm directly that you’ve agreed to a change.
IF YOU’VE BEEN SLAMMED
Start by calling the slamming company and tell it that you want service switched back. Next, call your regular company and tell it about the slam. Ask to be placed on your old calling plan and say that you want all charges from the slammer removed from your bill.
Under FCC rules, you don’t have to pay for the first 30 days of the slammer’s service. If you’ve already paid a slammer’s charges, the company must pay your authorized company 150 percent of the charges you paid the slamming company. Out of this amount, your authorized company will reimburse you 50 percent of the charges you paid the slamming company, the FCC says. Alternatively, you can ask your authorized company to recalculate and resend your bill using its rates instead of the slamming company’s rates.
Then, make sure you file a complaint the Bureau of Public Utilities (BPU): call (800) 624-0241 or visit http://nj.gov/bpu/assistance/complaints. New Jersey complaints that go to the FCC (888-CALL-FCC or http://www.fcc.gov/complaints) will be passed down to BPU.
September 12, 2011
Thanks Sarah Johnson at homephoneservice
for sharing this
If you’ve seen the commercials for some of the different VoIP phone services, you might wonder why everyone isn’t switching their phone service over to this new technology. Many people and tried it and are finding that it meets the need for inexpensive international calling. Beyond that, there still seems to be some issues that leave it trailing behind as a communication option for most households. Here are ten of the reasons why.
Voice Quality – Typical landline voice quality is usually crystal clear. If there is a problem, it usually has to do with the quality of the phone itself and not the delivery system. This hasn’t been true with VoIP phone calls. The quality seems to be affected by several different factors, which means that you never know what to expect.
911 Calling – Many ViOP services are now providing or offering emergency 911 service, but this continues to be an issue. 911 operators receiving phone calls from a VoIP phone can’t always tell the true location of the caller because the call is being routed through the internet.
Power dependent – Unlike analog phones and cellphones, if the electricity goes out, your VoIP will not be useable. It was must have power to operate.
Bandwidth sharing – The fact that the phone service is carrying voice over data lines that are sharing data traffic means that the amount of traffic can affect the quality of the phone call.
Extra hardware – There are a few VoIP services that only require speakers and a microphone with your computer to operate, but most utilize a special phone that connects into your internet service or computer.
Pricing – The pricing structures for the different VoIP services vary and can be confusing to understand when compared to standard local and long distance telephone plans. This also makes them difficult to compare to one another.
Calling limitations – Some people have switched to VoIP phone service and then found out that there are certain phone numbers that they cannot reach using that service; an issue not found with other types of phone communication.
Security – The fact that the phone calls are traveling the internet highway raises the question of security and privacy for many phone users.
Dropped calls – Landline phones seldom drop phone calls and with VoIP phones, this can be a much more common problem. It is frustrating enough when it happens on your cell phone, to have it happen on your ‘home’ phone is generally not acceptable.
Voice delay – One of the biggest quality issues tends to be voice delay in the transmission. This is something that can vary from one phone call to the next. Again, it is something that people are not used to having to deal with on their landline phone, and are easily annoyed by it, when it occurs on their VoIP phone.
If you make a lot of international phone calls, VoIP phone service may be a great money saving option for you, but you aren’t going to see them become the standard household phone in the near future.
Do you have something to share about the telephone industry. feel free to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
September 9, 2011
A former CEO of Latin Node, a telecommunications company in Florida, was sentenced to 46 months in prison under U.S. anti-bribery laws on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said
Jorge Granados, 55, pleaded guilty on May 19 to a conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a scheme to pay Honduran officials more than US$500,000 in bribes, DOJ said in a release on Thursday.
After its acquisition of Latin Node, known as LatiNode, in 2007 and discovery of the improper payments, eLandia International, an information and communications technologies services provider in Florida, disclosed potential FCPA violations to the department.
In his guilty plea, Granados admitted to authorizing bribes to be paid to officials in Honduras in return for business advantages from state-owned telecommunications company, Empresa Hondureña de Telecomunicaciones (Hondutel)
LatiNode was the sole winner in December 2005 of an interconnection agreement with Hondutel, permitting it to use the Honduran company’s telecommunications lines to establish a network between Honduras and the U.S. and to provide long distance services between the two countries.
U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard for the Southern District of Florida also ordered Granados of Miami to serve two years of supervised release following the prison term.
The FCPA makes it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.
A number of technology companies have come under scrutiny for bribing people abroad to get business. U.S. federal agencies are investigating whether Oracle violated federal anti-bribery laws in dealings abroad, The Wall Street Journal reported last month, citing people familiar with the matter. Oracle declined to comment on the report.
To date, four former senior executives of LatiNode have pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to the Honduran officials, DOJ said. The other three executives are to be sentenced later this year.
Between September 2006 and June 2007, Granados and others caused more than $500,000 in bribes to be paid to the Honduran officials, according to court documents, concealing many of the payments by laundering the money through LatiNode’s subsidiaries in Guatemala and to accounts in Honduras controlled by the Honduran government officials.
LatiNode pleaded guilty on April 7, 2009, to a one-count information charging the company with a criminal violation of the FCPA and agreed to pay a $2 million fine.
John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John’s e-mail address is email@example.com