Entries Matching: Phone Transition

The Net Neutrality Decision And The IP Transition. What Happens When You Cant Make Phone Service Wor

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As I noted in my first post-Verizon v. FCC blog post, the Net Neutrality decision both dramatically expanded and dramatically limited the FCC’s authority. This has a large number of immediate implications for the FCC’s ability to conduct its work. While this ripples across just about every area of FCC jurisdiction, it has its most immediate impact on the transition of the phone system to all IP.


At a glance, the biggest losers are cable operators (except Comcast), CLECs, and anyone else that wants mandatory interconnection or cares about call completion. That means resolving the rural call completion problem just became harder, since VOIP providers cannot, now, be subject to the duty to complete calls. The most recent FCC Order, which imposes reporting requirements is still OK. But the original declaratory ruling requiring IP-based providers to actually complete calls is probably a dead letter.

On the other hand, the decision potentially empowers the state Public Utility Commissions (“PUCs”), or gives the FCC power to delegate to state PUCs, the ability to override the laws passed in 27 states that prohibit any regulation of IP based services, and to override limits on municipal broadband.

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100th Anniversary of the Kingsbury Commitment

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Today marks the 100th anniversary of an agreement called the Kingsbury Commitment that embodied some of the most fundamental principles that underly our communications networks.


In honor of its 100th anniversary, it's worth pausing to remember how the Kingsbury Commitment set a national goal to ensure interconnection and provide at least basic telephone service to all Americans. Our country has not wavered from that fundamental commitment since. As we now move into new IP-based phone networks and communications infrastructure, we must hold fast to this commitment to make sure no one is left behind in the phone network transition.

What Is The Kingsbury Commitment?

The Kingsbury Commitment is a deal struck in 1913 between American Telegraph & Telephone (now AT&T) and the Department of Justice, settling an antitrust investigation into AT&T's market power, especially over long-distance phone service.

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Moving Forward on The Phone Transition: Trials and Conclusion

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Yesterday we recapped the transition of the phone network thus far and touched on what to expect. Today we discuss the technical trials and what happens next.


Technical Trials:

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, a “wire center” is the place where all the wires for telecommunications service in a specific area come together. That’s not just all the residential subscribers on the AT&T system. It’s the place where AT&T exchanges traffic with the other providers (such as the local cable operator and whoever offers cell service), the 9-1-1 access point, and the source of “special access” circuits for enterprise customers and other carriers.

The argument about trials has unfortunately broken down largely into two sides. AT&T and its supporters, who want to see AT&T convert a wire center under terms defined by AT&T, and everyone else, who thinks we don’t need trials at all. Public Knowledge supports well constructed trials that actually further the debate. We’ve written at length on our problems with the current AT&T proposal and what we’d like to see in a real set of technical trials.

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