& cplSiteName &

FCC Tests Copper Obsolescence in an IP World

Dan Jones
1/30/2014
50%
50%

The FCC said Thursday that it is ready to start testing alternatives to copper, such as fiber or wireless, a move that will be music to the ears of large incumbents like AT&T and Verizon.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an unofficial announcement of "voluntary experiments" to test new technologies to supersede legacy lines.

"Driven by developments in the marketplace, technology transitions in communications networks are already well underway," the agency states in the order. "They include, for example, the transition from plain old telephone service delivered over copper lines to feature-rich voice service using Internet Protocols, delivered over coaxial cable, fiber, or wireless networks."

The government body states that these new technologies must adhere to a set of "enduring values" to be considered. These include:

  • Public safety communications must be available, no matter the technology
  • All Americans must have access to affordable communications services
  • Competition in the marketplace provides choice for consumers and businesses
  • Consumer protection is paramount

Carriers like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are currently subject to the Carrier of Last Resort (COLR) rule from 1913 that states that every American household should have access to a phone line.

On November 7, 2012, AT&T petitioned the FCC to update its rules so that wired or wireless IP systems can be considered as a replacement for the traditional copper phone-line system. Verizon, meanwhile, has been working with state governments to get COLR rules changed.

Something over a year later, the FCC is inviting Providers "to submit proposals to initiate tests of providing IP-based alternatives to existing services in discrete geographic areas or situations."

Proposals are due by February 20, followed by a public comment and reply period ending on March 31. Final decision on the proposals will be made at the FCC's May meeting.

Related posts:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(16)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
prayson.pate
50%
50%
prayson.pate,
User Rank: Blogger
2/1/2014 | 10:33:10 AM
Re: So, does copper go away?
As Tom pointed out there is a question of how CSPs can make money from wireline services. One interesting development is the Google Fiber program, which is providing fiber-to-the-home in Kansas City and Provo, Utah.

In KC the deployment was facilitated by the fact that the city owns the phone poles, so Google cut a deal with them to deploy aerial fiber, which is much cheaper than buried fiber.  Can they drive this strategy more broadly?

The prospects are not bright.  Verizon, AT&T and others have backed off their fiber-centric residential strategies due to the high cost of burying fiber.

Another interesting point is that 4G LTE is creating tremendous demand for fiber backhaul from small cells.  Again, the cost is prohibitive, creating friction between supply and demand.

To me, that leaves two possibilities:

1) The CSPs figure out how to make their wireline facilities more profitable, possibly leveraging the latest Net Neutrality ruling.

2) Fiber for residential internet access and small cells becomes a regulated utility.  Back to the future!

Prayson
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/31/2014 | 9:54:00 AM
Re: So, does copper go away?
Dennis,

From a Tier 1 carrier standpoint, the regulators are right.  Go look at the numbers.

From a small carrier standpoint, I think we shall have to see.

seven

 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/31/2014 | 9:12:28 AM
Re: So, does copper go away?
State regulators (at least the ones I know) do not consider phone companies to be in dire straits by any means. Whether or not that's a valid view is debatable, but for the foreseeable future I do not expect regulators to be issuing any rulings that would allow a wireline incumbent to simply end conventional POTS service.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/31/2014 | 9:00:52 AM
Re: So, does copper go away?
Tom,

 

TDM Voice is free....they already own all the equipment and have all the training required.

Already built and installed stuff is always cheaper than any new stuff.

seven

 
bdcst
50%
50%
bdcst,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/30/2014 | 11:54:26 PM
Re: So, does copper go away?
Well, Verizon started to do it with their FioS offering in some communities and then lost their momentum.  My brother-in-law in Needham MA is on fiber for his POTS line, cable and data.  But a few miles further west in Boston proper it isn't happening, at least not yet.

So, here I am out in the boonies in Vermont waiting with bated breath for Spring to arrive and the final splciing of fiber which will end the local use of copper.  Good riddence.  When I first built my house aall the local telecom could offer me was a four party line!  And even when they ran more copper, it was so far from the CO that the induced AC hum was so bad I had to buy my own noise supression chokes and add tehm to the line.  When dial-up internet came along on a good day my modem might have made a 24kb connection.

Being too far from the CO when DSL came along it wasn't supported on my line until the hardware improved.  But even then the best it would do was around 64k!  The CEO of my little local Telecom promised to do better and evantually found a small enough and economical remote cabinet with DSLAM and placed it at the head of my road connecting it with a dozen T-1 circuits.  So, I've had a whopping 1.5 mb/s down for ther past few years but not stable enough for streaming HD video.

Once off of copper we'll leapfrog over most other domestic servcies for data connectivity.  And the phone company can also get out of the electrcial energy distribution business with no more CO battery at 50 volts to deliver over copper to the customer's end.

Keep in mind that inter-lata voice calls no longer traverse copper.  Fiber has taken over all of the major CO to CO trunking.  And with it CO switching engines are gradually being replaced wtih packetized call handling routers, VoIP.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
1/30/2014 | 9:02:47 PM
FCC
Wow, it took the FCC a year and change since the AT&T petition to take this tentative step. I guess it's no surprise that it moved to the front burner once the wireless guy took over as chairman.
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/30/2014 | 8:50:02 PM
Re: So, does copper go away?
That may be true, mendyk, but you have to wonder whether anyone can make wireline pay, or even break even, at this point.  Having a rural telco take over is just a play on RUS subsidies, but there's no sustaining a bad business indefinitely.  Every year TDM carries fewer calls and those big switches just heat more space.  At some point you have to say that you can't subsidize nothing more than a habit.  Everyone needs voice calling, but not a specific kind of voice calling.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/30/2014 | 8:19:52 PM
Re: So, does copper go away?
I doubt any state regulators will have the nerve to sign of on abandonment of wireline service in any area, at least for the next decade. So incumbents will either have to pawn those territories off on some other operator or continue to provide increasingly miserable service.
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/30/2014 | 7:14:21 PM
Re: So, does copper go away?
I think that's what they intend to be doing.  There are a bunch of copper-loop customers in areas that have significantly different economic densities.  In the areas with the biggest dollars-per-square-mile, you pull fiber and sell them TV.  Fios is targeted at places where you can make enough money to provide a return on the investment, so when you've provisioned all those places you stop pulling fiber.  It's that simple, I think.

In areas with "middle" opportunity density you can drive fiber deeper but not to the home (U-verse) and either do IPTV or just focus on residential broadband.  However, TDM voice and voice switching is a huge cost to you and anyone with broadband can get VoIP anyway, so you try to translate them to VoIP.

At the bottom of economic density (rural areas, low-income) the oeprators are losing money with every loop they have to deploy and current regulations make them the carrier of last resort.  So they want to change things there too, by asking the FCC to let them provision voice using cellular technology instead of the loop.

I think this is the net of what's behind all the regulatory reviews on voice.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/30/2014 | 5:56:34 PM
Re: So, does copper go away?
You guys are assuming they are going to have 1 plan.  They have (as far as I can tell) 2 plans:

FiOS for FiOS territories

Wireless for non-FiOS properties

The question really is what is AT&Ts plan for non U-Verse properties?

 

seven

 

PS - TDM is not obsolete....unless you delete the Optical Transport layer...but copper surely is.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (2) comments


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Is Cable One Beefing Up for Slaughter?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/20/2017
Google Security Lessons for IT
Curtis Franklin, Security Editor, 1/18/2017
Nokia CTO: 2017 Is the Year 5G Gets in the Field
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/19/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.