& cplSiteName &

AT&T's All-IP Tests Won't Answer Key Questions

Carol Wilson
2/28/2014
50%
50%

AT&T's tests of all-IP wire centers in rural Alabama and suburban Florida, announced earlier today in an AT&T public policy blog and a Washington, D.C., press briefing, may show how consumers and emergency services will function without traditional switched voice. However, it may not reveal much about the competitive landscape.

The tests are in keeping with what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked for as it tries to pilot this network transition and determine how voice regulations should be eased or changed. (See FCC Sets IP Transformation Pilots.)

AT&T's (AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)) test will eliminate circuit-switched voice service in the affected wire centers, something AT&T says 70% of its customers in 22 states have already done, either by cutting the cord and going wireless or choosing to use voice over IP instead of traditional telephony. That shift in customer choice is one of the arguments AT&T is making for eliminating traditional voice switches and changing regulations that grew out of that era. (See FCC VoIP Ruling Bound to Disappoint Someone.)

The two areas in which AT&T will conduct its tests are hardly hotbeds of competition. Carbon Hill, Ala., is described as a relatively poor rural town of 2,000 and Delray Beach, Fla., is a suburb of 60,000, including many seniors. In Carbon Hill, about 40% of residents will be able to choose their replacement voice service -- either AT&T's U-verse broadband offering, which is VoIP, or a 4G home wireless service. Those outside the U-verse footprint, which is more than half, will only be able to get the wireless service. In addition, about 4% of residents won't have access to either, but AT&T thinks they'll have other voice options, and has pledged not to shut off service until they do. In Delray Beach, a substantial number of residents already have Comcast VoIP, and will have both AT&T voice options.

From this population, the FCC may be able to discern the impact on consumers, such as whether an in-home wireless option delivers the quality consumers need and whether essential services such as 911 continue to function as needed. It's not likely to determine, however, whether issues such as interconnection of competitive carriers will be impacted.

That's like why Incompas CEO Chip Pickering described AT&T's test as "narrow and very limited," and used a prepared statement to continue to push the point that wholesale access rules -- which allow competitors to connect to AT&T's network -- remain essential.

Granted, the FCC has to put consumer concerns first, but as we are learning where broadband service is concerned, the health of competition does impact consumers. Here's hoping the FCC takes what it can from these trials but doesn't stop there.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

Editor's note: The original version of this blog contained an inaccurate reference to Comptel, the equipment vendor. Chip Pickering is CEO of Comptel, the association of competitive carriers and is speaking for that organization.

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2014 | 6:12:56 PM
For 911 calls during a power outage, POTS lines are hard to beat
Also, for all the advantages of fiber and IP-based communications, plain old telephone lines have the unique ability to stay on even when the power is out.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/01/surprise-your-high-tech-home-phone-system-could-go-dead-in-an-emergency/index.htm

It seems a bit short-sighted to slowly kill off all the POTS lines without creating some kind of emergency backup system that is similarly robust in adverse conditions (which is when you'd really need emergency communications).
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 6:58:08 PM
Re: Nice, Carol
Besides the competitive impact, some folks have raised legitimate safety concerns -- not just for 911 calls, but for FAA air traffic controllers who could be more open to IP-based attacks. I've also heard that IP-based communications have a longer inherent latency, which can be intolerable in some applications.
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 12:20:43 PM
The role of the cloud in PSTN sunset
Here's my read on some of the interesting parts of the filing.

AT&T's All-IP Transition and the PSTN Sunset


AT&T will build a next gen voice network, but not every provider can and should do that.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 11:12:42 AM
Re: Tracking the Right Issues?
It is interesting how they chose a rural and urban market to test. Other than some inconveniece to customer, and maybe some increased costs there probably won't be much in the way of complaints. 911 is presumably still going to be working for non-subscribed devices as mandated by law do even an old cell phone or with a working battery can get to 911. But, what about those twisted pair landline phones? What happens if there's no wires anymore.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2014 | 4:37:09 AM
Re: Tracking the Right Issues?
@daniel: It's particularly difficult for SMB owners who operate from home, because then you're actually getting telemarketing calls at home, but it's a different set of legalities because it's a "business" line.

(I remember when I sat in on a job interview/training for a B2B telemarketing company many years ago; the employee I was shadowing must have had some bad leads because he wound up making multiple calls to people who clearly had home business lines and were very surprised and annoyed to be getting sales calls.)
KBode
100%
0%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/2/2014 | 9:22:23 AM
Nice, Carol
THANK YOU Carol. I think you're the only person writing about this that has discussed the competitive impact of this. Most news outlets gush a bit over how the "IP transistion" heralds a modern age, ignoring how it's going to be the end of the line for a lot of currently reliable DSL lines that AT&T will refuse to upgrade.

That's going to leave less competitive options for a lot of users, create a stronger cable monopoly for fixed-line broadband in many markets, and potentially reduce competition at a time we profess to be dedicated to improving it.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/1/2014 | 3:09:53 PM
Re: Tracking the Right Issues?
@Joe Stanganelli, that's an interesting insight. I think that in the past VoIP operators did some cowboy things because the market was so new. Some unscrupulous operators even took it to themselves to junk fax people!

That's why I'm not overly surprised to hear that story about telemarketing. Some in the industry just overlook the regulations until there is a crackdown. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/1/2014 | 1:01:59 PM
Re: Tracking the Right Issues?
Carol,

Eliminating Circuit Switch Voice....from what point does the elimination start?  I remember BellSouth's first "All Fiber CO" and visited it.  They had no copper that left the facility and used a combination of DLCs and FTTC ONUs to deliver service.  They used DS3 inside the office to interwork devices and had a D4 bank in place so they could test special services.

Does an All-IP CO have an IP Voice Gateway for POTS - much like an old Coppercom or Jetstream device?  Is the IP interworking at a home gateway?  Does the consumer now use an IP Phone? Could an AT&T wireless customer get UMA in such a location?

Before we make bold statements about what will and won't go wrong, can we be 100% clear on what is meant.  For example, how many Class 4 Circuit Switches are out there?  Does that count as VoIP from a DNC standpoint?  I would expect that a transition to VoIP would go throught LNP of my existing number and I would get the same DNC capability I have today.

seven

 
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/28/2014 | 11:33:47 PM
Re: Tracking the Right Issues?
@Carol: Wow.  That would be like calling the cable company when the cable's out and the svc. rep. tells you, "Don't you have a book?"

"Yes, but that's not the point!  I WANT TO SEE THE KARDASHIANS!"
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/28/2014 | 11:32:20 PM
Re: Tracking the Right Issues?
@Tom: I think it depends on the provider too.  On one VOIP line, I almost never (if ever) get telemarketing calls.  A few years back, when I did a trial of another provider's VOIP service, I got flooded w/ telemarketing calls INSTANTLY -- despite immediately registering for DNC.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
More Blogs from Rewired
Russo, the man who cashed in pretty quickly on his first major success, Cerent, is leading a much longer-term effort to bring software-defined networking to the access realm at Calix.
SD-WAN market set to surge but it's not replacing MPLS anytime soon, and there will be security and operational challenges ahead, according to a 451 Research survey.
Lowell McAdam says cable merger no longer seems likely but is still open to other ideas – like a Comcast merger.
Harmonization, minding the product gap, getting 5G right, mimicking Red Hat and praising the Linux Foundation's expanded role all make the list.
Open Networking Summit presentation makes clear that AT&T's journey to differentiated services is one most operators will need to take.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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
Masergy: It's Time for SD-WAN Options

6|28|17   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Paul Ruelas, director of network products for Masergy, explains how adding SD-WAN has changed the service mix for his company's customers. In some cases, the change is incremental, enabling more granular customer control. Masergy's newest version, SD-WAN Go, gives up some of those controls for a streamlined version targeting mid-sized customers with the most ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Ushers in the Revolutionary 5G Era

6|28|17   |   5:00   |   (1) comment


5G will bring job opportunities for women in telco and IT, as well as a whole new era of communications for consumers and industries of all kinds, says Caroline Chan, vice president and general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division at Intel.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX at ANGA COM

6|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


At ANGA COM 2017, Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX, updates Alan Breznick with VeEX's new products and technology. This includes VeSion cloud-based platform for network monitoring, AT2500-3G advanced spectrum analyzer and MTTplus-900 WiFi Air Expert module. He also comments on DOCSIS 3.1 deployment and Remote PHY technology.
LRTV Custom TV
The Overall Objective Is to Win the Game

6|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


SCTE•ISBE's Chris Bastian discusses Energy 2020's success to date and the importance of a flexible approach that allows for changes in specific strategies in order to reach significant milestones.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2017
Hulu Is Greatest Threat to Pay-TV Providers – Study
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 6/27/2017
Calix: Russo's Not-So-Overnight Success?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 6/28/2017
Verizon Takes 'One Fiber' to More Cities
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/22/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
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.