phone fun, was GeoIP database issues and the real world consequences

Ray Orsini ray at
Wed Apr 27 02:50:26 UTC 2016

On our VOIP service we include US, Canada and Puerto Rico as "local"


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-----Original Message-----
From: NANOG [ at] On Behalf Of
Larry Sheldon
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 3:11 PM
To: nanog at
Subject: Re: phone fun, was GeoIP database issues and the real world

On 4/20/2016 10:15, Owen DeLong wrote:
>> On Apr 20, 2016, at 7:59 AM, Jean-Francois Mezei
>> <jfmezei_nanog at> wrote:
>> On 2016-04-20 10:52, Owen DeLong wrote:
>>> For the most part, “long distance” calls within the US are a thing
>>> of the past and at least one mobile carrier now treats US/CA/MX as a
>>> single local calling area
>> Is this a case of telcos having switched to IP trunks and can reach
>> other carriers for "free"
>> Or are wholesale long distance still billed between carriers but at
>> prices so low that they can afford to offer "free" long distance at
>> retail level ?
> I think it boiled down to a recognition that the costs of billing were
> beginning to account for something like $0.99 of every $1 billed.

I wonder if the costs of avoiding-preventing-investigating toll fraud final
grow to consume the profit in the product.

I know that long ago there were things that I thought were insanely silly.
A few examples:

As an ordinary citizen I was amused and annoyed, in the case where a toll
charge had been contested (and perforce refunded) there would often be
several non-revenue calls to the protesting number asking whoever answered
if they knew anybody in the called city, or if they knew who
the called number belonged to.   (Proper answer in any case:  Who or
what I know is none of your business.)  Often there would calls to the
called number (super irritating because the error was in the
recording--later learned to be poor handwriting) asking the reciprocal
questions except that often they had no idea that a call had been made.

I  was a Toll Transmissionman for a number or years back in the last iceage
and one of the onerous tasks the supervisor had was "verifying the phone
bill" which might be a stack as much as six inches tall.  The evening shift
supervisor (or one of them in a large office, like Los Angeles 1 Telegraph,
where I worked for a while) would go through the bill, line by line, page by
page, looking at the called number an d if he recognized it and placing a
check mark next to it,  If he did not recognize it, he would search the many
lists in the office to see it was shown, and adding a check mark if a list
showed it for a likely sounding legal call.  If that didn't work he would
probably have to call the number to see who answered (adding a wasted
revenue-call path to the wreckage).  Most often it would turn out to be the
home telephone number of a repair supervisor in West Sweatsock, Montana, who
had been called because a somebody who protested the policy that the
repairman going fishing meant some problem would not be addressed for
several days.  So he put a check mark next to the number and moved on.

Which meant the number would show up on the next month's bill.  And it would
again not be recognized from memory.  And so forth and so on.
Until eventually, after several months, the number would be recognized,
check-marked without drama, and disappear forever from the bill.

Lastly, in later years I was assigned to the the Revenue Accounting
organization (to write programs for printing telephone books) and came to
realize that there were a LOT of people in RA working with a LOT of people
in the Chief Special Agents organization using a LOT of computer time to
analyze Toll records for fraud patterns.

Oops, not quite lastly....  Looking back at my Toll Plant days in the heyday
of Captain Crunch--there were a lot engineering hours redesigning Toll
equipment, and plant hours modifying or replacing equipment do defeat the
engineering efforts of the Blue Box Boys.

"Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a
tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

--Albert Einstein

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