Global Humanity Looks to Unity of Minds in Crisis: Massacres of Muslim Worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand

"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live...

Dr Mahboob A Khawaja, PhD. - avatar Dr Mahboob A Khawaja, PhD.

New TAFE program for Aboriginal health-care students sees a near perfect completion rate

If we are to close the gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal people, we need to develop and staff culturally competent health-care services.from shutterstock.comA customised scholarship program develo...

Kylie Gwynne, Associate Professor and Research Director, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney - avatar Kylie Gwynne, Associate Professor and Research Director, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney

Two million Aussies delay or don't go to the dentist – here's how we can fix that

When did you last visit the dentist?By Concept Photo/ShutterstockDental care in Australia is a policy anomaly; for some reason, the mouth is treated very differently to other parts of the body. About ...

Stephen Duckett, Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute - avatar Stephen Duckett, Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute

We need a new definition of pornography - with consent at the centre

In a search of social science literature on pornography, none of the definitions reviewed mentioned consent.ShutterstockWe all think we know what pornography is, whether we oppose it, use it, or toler...

Sarah Ashton, PhD Candidate, Monash University - avatar Sarah Ashton, PhD Candidate, Monash University

Women can build positive body image by controlling what they view on social media

It is possible to limit your bombardment with images of bodies that feel way out of reach – so choose wisely who you follow. hannah grace / unsplash, CC BYSocial media use is often described as ...

Rachel Cohen, Clinical Psychologist and PhD Candidate, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Rachel Cohen, Clinical Psychologist and PhD Candidate, University of Technology Sydney

Ultra low wage growth isn't accidental. It is the intended outcome of government policies

This is the first in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.The long debate over the c...

John Quiggin, Professor, School of Economics, The University of Queensland - avatar John Quiggin, Professor, School of Economics, The University of Queensland

Curious Kids: why bats sleep upside down, and other stories of animal adaptation

Zzzzzzz...Flickr/Ryan Poplin, CC BY-SACurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also l...

Amy Edwards, Post Doctoral Researcher, La Trobe University - avatar Amy Edwards, Post Doctoral Researcher, La Trobe University

'Give us a sniff, love': giving marsupials scents from suitors helps breeding programs

A baby eastern barred bandicoot pokes its head out of its mother’s pouch. M. Parrott, Zoos Victoria, Author providedSmell is a vital part of sexual attraction for all kinds of animals (including...

Marissa Parrott, Reproductive Biologist, Wildlife Conservation & Science, Zoos Victoria, and Honorary Research Associate, BioSciences, University of Melbourne - avatar Marissa Parrott, Reproductive Biologist, Wildlife Conservation & Science, Zoos Victoria, and Honorary Research Associate, BioSciences, University of Melbourne

Youth homelessness efforts get a lowly 2 stars from national report card

Despite a ten-point roadmap and bold commitments, Australia has not stayed on track to reduce youth homeless over the past decade.Roman Bodnarchuk/ShutterstockA National Report Card on Youth Homelessn...

David MacKenzie, Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, Swinburne University of Technology - avatar David MacKenzie, Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, Swinburne University of Technology

View from The Hill: A truly inclusive society requires political restraint

“Standing against hate” requires robust leadership from the politicians.AAP, CC BY-NCTerrible tragedies test leaders to the full. Anyone watching from afar must be impressed with the way i...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

NSW election neck and neck as voters face a 1950s-style 'I'll see you and raise you' campaign

On Saturday, March 23, the people of New South Wales will head to the ballot boxes for a state election. It is looking increasingly close, with polls showing government and opposition neck and neck on...

David Clune, Honorary Associate, Government and International Relations, University of Sydney - avatar David Clune, Honorary Associate, Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

Ultra low wage growth isn't accidental. It is the intended outcome of government policies

This is the first in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.The long debate over the c...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Christchurch attacks are a stark warning of toxic political environment that allows hate to flourish

When lives are tragically cut short, it is generally easier to explain the “how” than the “why”. This dark reality is all the more felt when tragedy comes at the hands of murd...

Greg Barton, Chair in Global Islamic Politics, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University - avatar Greg Barton, Chair in Global Islamic Politics, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University

Can a senator be expelled from the federal parliament for offensive statements?

In the wake of comments about the Christchurch massacre, members of the public have raised the question of whether a senator can be expelled from the Senate for making offensive statements. It is now...

Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Sydney - avatar Anne Twomey, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Sydney

The psychology of fear and hate, and what each of us can do to stop it

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has travelled to Christchurch after yesterday's terror attacks.NZ Prime Minister's office, CC BY-SAAs an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged ...

Stephen Croucher, Professor and Head of School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing, Massey University - avatar Stephen Croucher, Professor and Head of School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing, Massey University

Why overhauling NZ's gun and terrorism laws alone can't stop terrorist attacks

Grieving members of the public following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch.EPA/Martin Hunter, CC BY-SAMy research focuses on terrorism in or affecting New Zealand. Until yesterday, my p...

John Battersby, Police Teaching Fellow, Massey University - avatar John Battersby, Police Teaching Fellow, Massey University

Random Thoughts V

If Planned Parenthood was selling puppy body parts they would be shut down yesterday. The thirties and forties are a blur with work and family.  The fifties start to slow down and in the sixties yo...

Dr. Robert Owens - avatar Dr. Robert Owens

Christchurch mosque shootings must end New Zealand's innocence about right-wing terrorism

Members of the Armed Offenders Squad push back members of the public following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch.AAP/Martin Hunter, CC BY-SATonight, New Zealand police continue t...

Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University - avatar Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University

Why news outlets should think twice about republishing the New Zealand mosque shooter's livestream

Like so many times before with acts of mass violence in different parts of the world, news of shootings at two Christchurch mosques on Friday instantly ricocheted around the world via social media. Wh...

Colleen Murrell, Associate Professor, Journalism, Swinburne University of Technology - avatar Colleen Murrell, Associate Professor, Journalism, Swinburne University of Technology

imageHowever hi-tech the world has become, it still rests on copper cable.zhangyang13576997233/Shutterstock

Telephone companies have yet again announced inflation-busting increases in telephone line rental charges. Why, in a world that is increasingly mobile-first – or even mobile-only – are we still paying so much for landlines?

The latest figures from UK telecoms regulator Ofcom show that around 16% of households no longer have a landline telephone, relying instead on mobile phones. For those that do still have a landline connection, call volumes fell by 12.7% in the last 12 months.

So we’re paying more and more for something that we use less and less – surely the old fashioned landline must be shuffling toward extinction?

Actually, the exact opposite is true; we need our landlines more than ever before. Calls on landlines may be in steep decline, but the same lines are needed to provide broadband internet access, and our thirst for online services is rapidly growing.

A problem wired into the system

Within the UK more than three-quarters of households have broadband internet connections running over telephone lines, the overwhelming majority of which are owned and managed by BT. This is irrespective of which ISP or telecoms company you pay to provide the services that run on top of these wires. It stems from BT’s history as a government department (part of the General Post Office), then a public company (British Telecom), before its eventual privatisation in the 1980s. Having existed as a monopoly for decades, the vast majority of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure is still owned by the current form of the organisation that originally installed it – BT.

The telephone line runs from your house via a street cabinet to the local telephone exchange, which is in turn connected to the national telephone network, and ultimately the internet. This length of wire from your house to the exchange is a copper cable known as the local loop. Recently, customers offered superfast broadband have seen the copper cable at least partly replaced by fibre-optic cable, which offers far higher internet connection speeds.

Alternatives exist – Virgin Media, which uses cable TV circuits rather than the public telephone network to provide high-speed broadband internet – and those living in Hull, which due to a historic quirk is served by the local monopoly Kingston Communications. But for everyone else, it is BT’s wires that matter.

Unbundling the loop

Back in December 2000 (in response to EU Directive 97/33/EC, concerned with ensuring competition among Europe’s telecoms providers) BT was forced to allow other companies to install equipment in its exchanges so they could offer competing broadband services over BT’s network. This was known as Local Loop Unbundling (LLU). It also led to the creation of BT Openreach as a separate division to manage the unbundling of local loop infrastructure.

Although Openreach is a BT Group business, it must offer the same level of service to any firm, including BT, that wishes to use its wires. Openreach is responsible for maintaining and upgrading the local loop between the exchange and customer – known as the “last mile” – and its revenues come from telecoms firms, not us end-users. The problem here is that Openreach is still part of BT and therefore has a virtual monopoly on the provision of landlines. This is why the regulator, Ofcom, approves limits on the wholesale prices that Openreach can charge competing telecoms firms for the use of its lines, and sets the performance targets it must meet.

Costs which have to be paid

However the local loop – your landline – is only part of the connection to the internet. Your chosen ISP, whoever it is, has to pay Openreach for access to the local loop, to maintain its own equipment in BT’s local exchanges and for a connection from the local loop further up the network to the internet, known as the backhaul connection. Including telephone services, rather than just ADSL internet data, means covering the cost of connecting to the national telephone network too.

All these costs are reflected in the bundle you pay for, appearing on your bill as charges labelled “line rental” and “broadband”. But it makes no sense to separate them like this. Firms such as Virgin Media, who use their own network independent of BT’s, don’t tend to use the phrase line rental but nevertheless have a similar set of costs to meet.

For the growing number of customers who choose internet-only deals, “line rental” now seems irrelevant – yet in reality the line is a fundamental part of the service and will likely always be – so its costs still have to be met.

It’s time we accepted that the world has moved forward. To avoid confusion, let’s drop the old-fashioned term “line rental” and its associated charge, and instead present the real costs in a transparent manner that shows what they truly represent.

image

Nigel Linge has received funding the UK Research Councils.

Read more http://theconversation.com/to-avoid-confusion-and-rising-anger-lets-abolish-line-rental-34951