& 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   >   >>
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, August 3, 1:00PM EDT
The Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center
Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Research Center, Open Networking Lab
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, August 10, 1:00PM EDT
Telcos & Open Source 101
Phil Robb, Senior Technical Director, OpenDaylight
Friday, August 12, 1:00PM EDT
The Role of Open Source in NFV
Jim Fagan, Director, Cloud Practice, Telstra
Wednesday, August 17, 1:00PM EDT
Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services
Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (0) comments


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (0) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 2 – Climbing the Virtualization Maturity Curve

7|19|16   |   06:56   |   (0) comments


Many of the initial use case implementations are single-vendor and self-contained. The industry is still climbing the virtualization maturity curve, needing further clarity and stability in the NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and greater availability and choice of virtualized network functions (VNFs). Interoperability between NFVis and VNFs from different vendors ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks' Kumar Mehta on SD-WAN Managed Services

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Versa's Kumar Mehta for an interview focused on why service providers are building SD-WAN managed services, and how Versa's telco customers are innovating.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper Networks & The Evolution of NFV

7|19|16   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Senior Juniper Networks executives talk to Light Reading Founder & CEO Steve Saunders about NFV developments and the recent independent evaluation by test lab EANTC of Juniper's Cloud CPE solution.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink Goes Beyond Managed WiFi

7|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


CenturyLink's managed WiFi allows enterprises, such as retailers and resorts, to track guest WiFi usage in order to help them better communicate with customers.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T Launches Network Functions on Demand

7|17|16   |   05:26   |   (0) comments


Roman Pacewicz, Senior Vice President, Offer Management & Service Integration, AT&T Business Solutions, discusses the operator's launch of its Network Functions on Demand service.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
September 27, 2016, Philadelphia, PA
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Five of the Top 10 most targeted countries in Check Point Software Technologies' global Malware & Threat Index for Q1 2016 are in Africa.
Hot Topics
Verizon Sports Big Plans for Yahoo
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 7/26/2016
Verizon's Next With VNFs
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/21/2016
Yahoo Signing Off in $4.83B Sale to Verizon
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/25/2016
Ericsson Board Has Been Asleep at the Wheel – Consultant
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/25/2016
Ericsson Ejects CEO Vestberg
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
I've enjoyed interviewing many interesting people since I rejoined Light Reading, but William A. "Bill" Owens certainly takes the biscuit, as we say where I come from.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.