Group challenges regs requiring phone companies to maintain copper networks
AT&T has asked the FCC to permit trials for a move to wireless and IP-only
Computerworld - As the battle between cable providers and traditional telephone companies continues before federal regulators in Washington, a report issued Tuesday challenged old regulations that require companies such as AT&T to maintain legacy copper-based networks.
The report by industry analyst and scholar Anna-Maria Kovacs was issued by the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a diverse consortium of 175 organizations that advocates for widespread broadband adoption. The alliance includes large companies like AT&T, some smaller carriers and nonprofit groups.
Among other things, Kovacs' 45-page report found that only 5% of the nation's households rely exclusively on circuit-switched voice telecommunications over copper wires (commonly called POTS, for Plain Old Telephone Service). Meanwhile, 38% of households rely on wireless communications exclusively and the remainder rely on a combination of wired and wireless services that include voice over IP.
Cable and traditional phone companies are battling over the same set of customers for Internet services that include video, social networking service and much more. Traditional phone companies are concerned they can't compete fairly because of regulations that require them to spend billions of dollars providing a traditional wired network that only offers voice and slower data services.
IIA Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher, a former congressman, said in a conference call introducing the report that federal regulations require incumbent telephone companies to maintain their entire circuit-switched networks, even as wireless and other technologies have evolved. More than half of the $154 billion spent by established telephone companies from 2006 to 2011 went to "outdated" copper-based networks, he said.
"Cable, by contrast, is not burdened by these regulations," Boucher said. "Freeing up the telcos would allow them to build.... [And they] would be a more vibrant competitor to cable."
Boucher stressed in a statement that federal and state policymakers "must modernize policies and create a level playing field for all competitors to invest and innovate."
Kovacs said the purpose of her report was not to make recommendations, although she did endorse industry trials to convert circuit-switched homes and businesses to all-IP networks "in a few small controlled areas where we can retreat back to old technology if we need to." The IP platform would not have to run over wireless only, she said, but could be built on fiber or something like AT&T's U-verse service, which runs mostly over fiber with some copper in the final stretch to a home or business.
Over the past year, AT&T has urged the FCC to allow it to conduct trials of such initiatives in two cities that haven't been named.
On Sept. 24, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson urged the FCC to move faster on his company's request for trials. AT&T has set a goal to build an all-IP, all-wireless, all-cloud network nationwide by 2020.
- Breaking BlackBerry: Your transition plan in 10 easy steps The move from BlackBerry should be a methodical approach that turns off the BES lights in a phased and methodical manner as you...
- Intelligent Imaging for Improved Banking Performance and Profitability A new generation of "Intelligent Imaging" solutions has emerged that is helping banks remove the burden of paper in legacy processes, like loan...
- Cloud Computing Drives IT and Business Agility Hybrid Cloud Accelerates Time to Value What is the main focus for IT in your organization - cost or agility? Many IT discussions today focus on cost controls rather...
- Infographic:10 Reasons to Choose vCloud Air Looking to create an agile, productive, and efficient IT environment? Read this simple infographic to learn about the benefits that VMware vCloud® Air™...
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics...
- Cloud BI Overview: Jaspersoft for AWS Check out this overview of Jaspersoft for AWS, to easily and affordably build business intelligence solutions as well as embed visualizations and analytics... All Wireless Carriers White Papers | Webcasts