Transcriptions from 'Off the Hook':



Emmanuel Goldstein: And this is Radio Station WBAI in New York where the time is 10:00. Time once again for "Off the Hook".

And a very good evening to one and all. This is "Off the Hook", the weekly program dealing with telecommunications and computers and the advances and regressions that we face everyday in our society as a result of those particular things which develop. And today is rather a monumental occasion, it is the last program that Phiber Optik will be on before he is sent to prison for a period of a year and a day. Which technically could wind up being ten months but that's about as little as we can hope for. Phiber Optik is a voice which many of you have heard for a couple of years on this program answering all kinds of questions and things like that, giving information adding his own special brand of expertise to the entire crazy world of technology that we are plunging headlong into...So this is the last program that Phiber Optik will be on the air and we will be devoting the vast majority of program to the calls. People calling in and we will do that in just a few minutes.

A couple of interesting news items which are poping up as news items are prone to do.

MCI has announced a rather startling development. I wouldn't say startling, if you worked for a phone company maybe you would say startling, because MCI... MCI is planning to enter the local markets. Planning to start local service, not just long distance service. You remember that competition that we were talking about as far as competition to the local phone companies, New York Telephone, NYNEX as they are called now. You may one day have a choice..Now that's not going to come next week but it might happen in the next couple of years. Now its not going to happen everywhere but it will happen in the major cities. This is what the MCI people are saying at the moment. MCI Communications, which is the company that according to the NY Times pried open AT&T's monopoly on long distance telephone calls more than 20 years ago has announced a 2 billion dollar plan to invade the local telephone market, 2 billion dollars!! MCI also announced a vaguely defined vision to team up with unspecified partners on a 20 billion dollar effort to upgrade its long distance network for an array of voice, video and high speed data communications.

Using a vast network of underground conduits that it acquired from Western Union, the former telegraph, actually I guess they still are the telegraph company. I am not quite sure what Western Union does these days. MCI plans to build local phiber optic networks in the nations 20 biggest cities in the next several years.

Initially MCI intends to use the phibers to link its corporate customers directly to its long distance network, bypassing the local bell telephone companies and avoiding the access charges MCI now pays the phone companies for local connections to corporate customers. Each year MCI pays local phone companies 5 billion dollars in access charges which accounts for the cost of long distance phone calls. They are by far the most lucrative segment of the phone market. Over the long term executives outlined a vision of providing ways onto a high speed national network that offers video on demand and enough speed to transmit an entire library of books across the country in seconds. It also hopes to compete with the bell companies offering local access to other long distance carriers including its arch rival the American Telephone and Telegraph company.

Imagine that! Imagine the embarrassment at AT&T when MCI walks in the door and says "Hey we can get you into the local market" which is what they got them out of in the first place. Yeah, well AT&T I am sure will just be tickled pink about that. There's a big double page add in today's New York Times as well. That article by the way was a from the business section of Today's Times and we only read a small part of it, there's all kinds of weird things going on.

"25 years ago we took on the largest company on earth. Today we take on (laughing) space and time." You've got to wonder what's going on down at MCI headquarters, they seem to be laying on the hallucinogenics quite a bit over there! This time, this is the add, this time the monopoly is the map in the Clock, and MCI has an astonishing plan of liberation from them. Sounds like one of those press released from one of those banana republic type countries, but yeah, astonishing plan of liberation. Today we inaugurate the nations first transcontinental information superhighway. Part of an overriding vision for the next century that bears the name, this is the name folks, get ready, this is the name, NetworkMCI. Now its really cool the way they've done this because the word network is in small letters, and MCI is in capital letters! (laughs) NetworkMCI is all one word. Yeah.

The road that this technology is SOnet, phiber optic technology, which Phiber Optik is going to tell us exactly what that is as soon as I can reach over all these papers and turn his microphone on. What is, what is Sonet?

Phiber:
Actually it's Sonnet..

Emmanuel:
Well it's just that the Shakespeare sonnets have 2 n's so I figured the MCI sonets had one n would make it SOnet but that's just me.

Phiber:
Blame BellCore. Sonet stands for Synchroness Optical Network and it's a new standard for phiber optic communications and if I remember correctly I think the speed of, don't quote me on this; I think the speed of the actual carrier is 84.44 megabits.

Emmanuel:
But what I can tell you that the phiber optic sonet technology has power to move information faster than any network available today...does that sound right to you?

Phiber:
I don't know.

Emmanuel:
Sonet technology has the power to move 15 times faster than any technology available today.

Someone's Pager goes off

Emmanuel:
Coupled with Sonnet will be ATM switching technology network with self healing capabilities (Phiber laughs) in a sub second.

Phiber:
Does it say that? Self healing?

Emmanuel:
Yes it does. What is a subsecond by the way. Does anybody know that? Microseconds, milliseconds, nanoseconds, I never heard of subseconds.

Phiber:
I think all of those would be considered sub seconds. And just for those listening ATM does not stand for automated teller machine; But they are referring to asynchronist transfer mode, which is a method of switching.

Emmanuel:
Speaking of ATM's did anyone catch NYPD Blues last night? They had that story that took place in Connecticut where somebody had a fake ATM machine, and they actually had somebody do this on the show. They set up a fake ATM machine and people had their checking accounts wiped out and they couldn't pay the diaper service and all kinds of things...it was really sad...but you know what bothered me about that was that they implied that the bank is not liable for something like that..you know..allowing a machine to be set up in the first place with its name on it. It's a weird situation when you can walk up to a machine and it can rob you! [It can] take the information off your magnetic strip and duplicate a card and you're responsible for that. The bank gives you the card, the bank tells you how to use the card and there is no security for the card and you have to pay. That's not right. Anyway let's get back to the MCI thing and lets get over this as quickly as we can..

Together they will shrink the distances between humanity with everything from broadcast quality video, to long distance medical imaging, to access into world wide personal communications services. This sounds like nothing so much as the 'U Will' campaign that AT&T has had for the last couple of months..

They are having these vast dream like visions of things that they are going to invent in the future that don't exist at the moment and they've taken the credit for it before they've even been invented. And it's the most incredible thing..Imagine being able to zip from Mars to Pluto in a fraction of a second...well AT&T is going to do that someday ...Yeah ... Makes you want to go out and buy stock, doesn't it?

Anyway, continuing here the first traveller on this new portion of this super highway will be the internet. MCI and one of telecommunications best kept secrets; and I'd like to know if you know about this Phiber; has been providing internet connections for the last decade. Now have they been providing connections and not telling anybody?

Phiber:
I don't know if it's specifically MCI but I believe that it's part of the little group of companies that along with Merrit and IBM and so on and so forth that I believe co-own the NSFnet backbone.

Emmanuel:
It is a best kept secret in their eyes. Anyway it now empowers 20 million people to have a conversation with others via computers. What NetworkMCI will do, notice how that rolls off you tongue... NetworkMCI..What NetworkMCI will do is unite the human voice and data and video image and interactive multimedia for the entire nation and beyond. Boy isn't this nice of them? MCI together with its partners will invest more than 20 billion dollars over the next 6 years to create a varitable brain trust. The Space- Time continuum is being challenged. The notion of communication is changed forever. All the information in the universe will soon be accessible at every moment (laughs).

Phiber:
Are they really saying this?

Emmanuel:
It's all right here in the New York Times. It's the most incredible add I've ever seen. I mean you have to look at this to verify..I mean they really say this. Yeah, every bit of information will be available at every moment, and all because of a dream known as the Information Superhighway, known as NetworkMCI...and the little * at the bottom says: So you better not stand in the way FCC..or any other organisation that is going to spoil everything for everybody.

Alright..that took alot of paper and there is all kinds of other things in the paper over the last couple of days...including tariffs filed by NY telephone..did you see these? Tariffs by NY telephone? NY telephone doesn't exist anymore so why are they still filing tariffs?? You know there are all kinds of things about reverse information, you know CNA's reverse information numbers or whatever they call them, calling information, calling asking for all kinds of information. Asking who belongs to this number? And they'll tell you if its listed. Something that phone phreakers and hackers have made use of for years and has been available for a long time in the calls directory. But now it's going to be available to mere people like us. Well that's something that we can look forward to as well, but this is being offered by NY Telephone...


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