Light Reading

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 Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel) 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: Lightning
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
When even social service benefits require online access, 365 Data Centers is helping one Bay Area agency keep its clients connected.
Eight weeks in to getting gigabit Internet service over fiber-to-the-home, I still can't answer that question.
Some folks say they'll never forgo six-nines reliability and 50 millisecond restoration standards, but there are definite signs Web 2.0 approaches are taking hold.
After almost three decades of writing about fiber-to-the-home, I'm finally getting it and I'm going for the whole gig.
Alliance with Deloitte creates one-stop shop of cyberattack mitigation by adding governance, risk management and compliance consulting.
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (2) comments


Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice
Iain Morris, News Editor, 9/1/2015
New Apple TV: More $$, Not Content – Report
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 16, 2015
Wi-Fi First or Second?
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.