Light Reading

Successfully Managing the IP Transition Is a Tall Order

Steve Leonard
4/2/2014
50%
50%

The FCC’s recent order for the management of experiments to spur a successful PSTN-to-IP transition officially kicks off an ambitious agenda for the coming months.

As the industry and consumers continue to press ahead with greater adoption of Internet Protocol technology all the time, it has become apparent that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must actively balance the drive to innovate with protection for consumers. A speedy yet orderly transition to an all-IP, competitive environment is what providers and end-users alike will benefit from most.

With this target in sight, the FCC has set out to conduct experiments and data collection that will enable it to have greater visibility into the inner workings of IP networks and services. The experiments are designed to highlight real-world events but in a relatively controlled setting. In order to advance its understanding of technological details, the Commission has asked for proposals to conduct discrete IP service-based experiments as well as experiments and research targeted at studying network values. As the experiments are conducted, the Commission is emphasizing that consumers must not be harmed in the process. Therefore, emergency services and disability access support will remain paramount.

As we’ve seen in the context of the non-carrier numbering trials, the "success" of an experiment may be very much in the eyes of the beholder. However, at a high level at least, the FCC has established some clear objective goals to aim for, and success should be measured by how much it learns in the process. The Commission's bold move to endorse experimentation is laudable. Further, it appears it also has a solid roadmap to follow along the way.

As Chairman Wheeler stated in adopting the IP Transition Order: “We favor technological innovation. And… we affirm the enduring values of the Network Compact: universal service, public safety, competition, and consumer protection.” As long as the Commission remains true to these guiding principles, end-users should benefit immensely.

Beyond learning from experimentation, success will come from applying the learnings to the regulatory framework that ultimately guides the marketplace. Below we outline some essential outcomes that may become the true objective measures of the FCC’s performance:

Relevant data sets: The first step is to gather useful and relevant data. Then, once gathered, it will need to be analyzed carefully. Finally, the analysis that is done must be translated into concrete applications in the marketplace. If not, then we are wasting our time. Within each of these categories of the process there are potential pitfalls. For example, at the outset -- for data to be useful and relevant it will need to be scalable but without manipulating the results. High volume and the ability to scale the results will be a critical outcome of the trial.

Ability to connect the dots: A structure that can be digested and followed by a diverse set of consumers will be critical. This is true for the FCC as it conducts the process as well as for the communications industry as a whole. With separate trials for different types of companies (think: wireless carriers and cable companies), it is difficult to understand how they’re interrelated and can all work together across telecom segments. Right now, there are regulatory incentives that cause players to aggressively work to position themselves in desired service categories. Ultimately, however, for end-users to benefit, the FCC should guard against this sort of regulatory arbitrage. Therefore, before major reform is instituted we’ll need to understand the interrelatedness of the issues at hand. Otherwise, unintended consequences will proliferate.

Encouraging innovation: The governing bodies managing the trial need to remain supportive of new ideas, allowing consumers to dictate what they like and what works. If not, then we won’t reach the full potential of IP-based communication, stifling the innovation and new methods of communications before they ever get a chance to blossom.

High-definition, not standard-definition: The value proposition of a transitioned number opens up a lot of opportunity for better communication, rich media, and HD voice. Transitioning to IP without factoring in HD voice will stifle opportunities and innovative progress. The inherent slowness to open up the barrier won’t be changed overnight -- for many years, we will still need to make calls into the public switched telephone network (PSTN). In an IP world, it’s easier to enable HD experiences for extraordinary human interactions. As the PSTN continues to die, how fast it does so will be the proof of HD’s success.

Emergency services and consumer protections: Public safety features are still an important concern, though it will be a longer, more difficult process to enable as a fully functioning IP-based infrastructure. Of course, it is also a necessity, so a full transition will not be possible until everything that is currently possible for emergency communications on the PSTN -- both within public safety answering points and from the underlying phone company -- is also possible in an IP-based environment. Small steps to enable this may happen in 2014, but we can’t predict when emergency communications will be fully transitioned.

That being said, once it is fully transitioned, it opens the door to more much more flexible emergency communications, including even greater location accuracy, innovative features such as text-to-911, and emergency video calling. All of the regulation, possibilities, and steps that need to be taken to enable IP-based 911 cannot be fully explained in a short paragraph, but it is important to address that this will be a major process to pay close attention to during the trial.

IP communications create opportunities for innovation that consumers are already craving -- and OTT-based communications are feeding those cravings. While some carriers continue to drag their feet to switch from the PSTN, consumers are finding ways around traditional carrier services. Once you’ve lost the consumers, it is difficult to win them back, even after the IP transition.

Thus our request of the FCC is to focus the industry in a direction that avoids barriers that delay consumers from availing themselves of the full benefit of the IP transition -- and instead move aggressively ahead on an ambitious transition path as rapidly as possible.

— Steve Leonard, EVP and General Manager, Bandwidth

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Infostack
50%
50%
Infostack,
User Rank: Moderator
5/4/2014 | 9:23:45 PM
100 year old battle
The IP train left the station 10-15 years ago.

This is about the fate of the vertically integrated edge access provider model. 

The WAN vs MAN math is pretty simple and stark: $0.0000004 vs $0.001 per voice minute.  Google has already proved the MAN cost can move 2 decimal places to the right, and that's without another one or 2/3's of the real business model.

That model will be driven by:

4K VoD

2-way HD collaboration (centrally procurred)

Seamless mobile BB

IoT

All of this requires cloud economics moving to the edge to address capacity, latency, security, performance, and redundancy issues.
More Blogs from Column
The web services giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Google might be defining the next generation of 'carrier class' networking technology.
As carriers are partnering with a growing amount of third-party service providers, payments are the next logical step in growing these partnerships.
There are many variants of the CRAN concept, but all have the potential to deliver major capex and opex savings in the network.
The FCC's upcoming 600 MHz spectrum is a novel idea to foster a competitive framework for the future.
Network appliances can play an important role in policy-driven virtualized networks, argues Dan Joe Barry.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Between the CEOs
Debating Network Evolution With Cisco's Cedrik Neike

6|23|15   |   12:54   |   (2) comments


Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
LRTV Documentaries
Vodafone: What's Good for Moms Is Good for Business

6|23|15   |   3:04   |   (3) comments


Megan Doberneck, the general counsel for Vodafone Americas, discusses her company's progressive maternity policy, explains why promoting women in tech is good business and offers some some good advice for any women in the industry.
LRTV Interviews
NFV: Ready for Prime Time

6|23|15   |   05:09   |   (1) comment


At BTE 2015, Vip mobile CTO Dejan Kastelic talks about how NFV is ready for the real world and how Telekom Austria is introducing centralized resources for its group operations.
LRTV Documentaries
Tykes Talk Tech

6|22|15   |   02:30   |   (9) comments


What does optical fiber look like? When will 5G arrive? What's the WiFi password at Ikea? Light Reading sat down with three 8-year-olds to answer some of the communications industry's most burning questions...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners With TDC for World's First Early DOCSIS 3.1 Field Test

6|22|15   |   3:06   |   (0) comments


In a move to enhance user experience, Denmark's TDC aims to become an early adopter of DOCSIS 3.1. In partnership with Huawei, TDC recently ran the world's first field tests on its coax network that reached speeds nearing 1 Gbit/s.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SDN, the Road to Open Innovation

6|22|15   |   3:18   |   (0) comments


Open source is changing the industry, and Huawei is committed to Open Innovation.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Business Pursues $5B Market

6|19|15   |   5:18   |   (0) comments


In this LRTV interview, Cox Business SVP Steve Rowley discusses how his unit aims to capture more of the commercial market in its territories.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
WiFi Calling Catches on Globally
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 6/23/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Verizon Closes AOL, Hints at Summer Launch
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2015
First Net Neutrality Complaint Hits TWC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones