Optical/IP Networks

ATIS: Carrier Regulation Threatens IP Transformation

A new report from the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) says current regulations need a major overhaul if incumbent telcos are to reap the financial benefits of IP transformation and meet the goals of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's National Broadband Plan. (See FCC Sends Broadband Plan to Congress.)

Making a pitch for much lighter regulations, the ATIS Consolidation & Convergence Task Force notes that regulatory rules could require incumbents to maintain some existing infrastructure after it’s not longer useful or cost-effective to do so. It also says that existing regulations, based on arcane things such as LATAs -- local access and transport areas -- make little sense in an era where it matters little where a call starts or ends.

"The U.S. government’s goal of universal access to broadband may not be met in a timely or efficient manner if providers are forced to continue to provide basic exchange service in compliance with legacy federal and state regulatory regimes,” the report states. “Such an outcome would require ongoing investment in 'old technology' and maintenance of two networks.”

Moving to IP technology enables incumbents to replace large digital circuit-switches with smaller and more energy-efficient softswitches and gateways, and to consolidate central offices, eliminating some CO buildings and cutting costs significantly. (See CTIA 2011: Genband Pushes Rescue Plan for Aging Switches.)

But that kind of major restructuring can run afoul of things such as existing collocation requirements, which allow competitive carriers to put their equipment in a CO, and rules that require incumbents to be "carriers of last resort (COLRs)."

That COLR status was associated with an exclusive local franchise, but while that exclusivity no longer exists, the requirements for serving all customers does, and that could force incumbents to maintain copper lines and some COs even when their IP networks have moved on, the report states.

"Because these state requirements are not uniformly imposed on all service providers, the migration to broadband and IP-based services cannot occur successfully for COLRs without transitioning away from the legacy state regulatory requirements," the report states.

There are key current FCC proceedings that will affect how incumbents can manage the transformation to all-IP networks including the FCC's plan for changing the current Universal Service Fund into a mechanism for funding broadband, the revision of Intercarrier Compensation and the FCC's net-neutrality rules, now facing a court challenge. (See FCC Proposes USF Reform and FCC Plan to Revamp USF, Intercarrier Payments .)

The report deals with many other of the challenges and opportunities that service providers face in trying to migrate from today's hybrid world of multiple technologies to an all-IP and mostly fiber optic network.

One recommendation likely to draw fire from competitive carriers involves allowing incumbents that have deployed fiber optics in their local loop plant to decommission the copper lines still there, to eliminate the cost of operating two networks. Competitive service providers have fought to keep copper networks in place as their means of accessing customers, saying that cutting the copper cord effectively locks in that customer to an incumbent.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:08:45 PM
re: ATIS: Carrier Regulation Threatens IP Transformation


So, wait....you can't afford to maintain your monopoly network that basically requires a universal service offering.  Has anybody else looked at the financial statements of AT&T and Verizon (as 2 examples).  I mean get serious.  If you really need to put a D4 bank out there, you can buy an T-1 over Ethernet box and run your D4 bank.

If you want to whine about how to regulate new Internet services okay, whine away.  But do not come back and now tell me how hard it is to do what you have been doing for 100 years.  If you want out of the local access business, then sell your gosh darn lines.

I understand why this was reported on, but cry me a river.  This is exactly why we must create FTTH service as a universal service.  If we do not, it will all be cherry picked.



acucons 12/5/2012 | 5:08:39 PM
re: ATIS: Carrier Regulation Threatens IP Transformation

Seven, I was thinking exactly what you stated.  thanks for doing it for me.  What an unbeliveable bunch of crap.  Already the Incumbents have driven out most of their CLEC competition, and as they get beat up by the Cable operators, they still seem to think the CLECs need to be killed off.

If anything gets in the way of ILEC dominance in the IP world, its the old thinking that IP needs to be priced in parallel to their overpriced special access service.  For example, a 100mb local loop is priced at about the same level as two DS3 chan terms.  No wonder Cox and the rest are eating their lunch with $200 high speed connections!

I suspect VZ, AT&T, and CTL will continue to thrive with the help of their Washington efforts...

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