FCC plans transition to all-IP infrastructure

The FCC's Technology Transitions Policy Task Force (Task Force) authorized a 6-month trial to examine providing interconnected VoIP providers direct access to telephone numbers. The goal is to speed the transition away from TDM to all-IP infrastructure while ensuring resiliency.

The FCC is seeking comment and data on several issues.

First, the FCC is seeking comment on a VoIP interconnection trial that would gather data to determine whether there are technical issues that need to be addressed and gather information relevant to the appropriate policy framework.

Second, regarding migration of the nation’s emergency calling (911) system to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911), the FCC is seeking comment on a trial that will assist the Commission, state, local and Tribal governments, and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in a few geographic areas to answer important technical and policy questions to accelerate the transition.

Beyond NG911, the FCC is also seeking comment on how a trial could elicit data on the impact of network resiliency and public safety more broadly as consumers migrate to wireless and IP-based services that are dependent on commercial power.

Third, because at least one provider has proposed serving consumers with wireless service in place of wireline service in certain geographic areas, the FCC is seeking comment on a trial that would analyze the impact of doing so and, in particular, focus on the consumer experience and ensure that consumers have the ability to move back to a wireline product during the trial.

"Trials are a smart approach that we have deployed before. Transitions to modern fiber and IP-based broadband networks, and the increased deployment of wireless technology, have the potential to unleash substantial economic benefits for our country, and advance national priorities like education and health care. The ongoing transitions must be handled in a way that advances the Commission’s vital longstanding goals of competition, universal service, consumer protection and public safety," stated outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

Jerry James, CEO of COMPTEL, stated: "The most critical aspect of the transition of the PSTN to IP technology that needs to be addressed is interconnection between competitors and the ILEC on an IP basis for the purpose of exchanging managed voice traffic. COMPTEL believes Commission affirmation of competitors’ interconnection rights on an IP basis under the Act, which we initially asked to be addressed in 2008, would achieve the new, innovative services it wishes to unleash at a faster pace than a trial. Nonetheless, COMPTEL believes the outcome of any trial on the transition to IP should include an IP-to-IP interconnection arrangement that complies with the standards set forth in the Act and will be available for opt-in as part of interconnection agreements."