Managing the final IP Telephony transition

The old public switched telephone network (PSTN) has served its purpose for the past 125 years, and it is now time to adopt the next technology and retire this dinosaur; but moving forward when the government is involved is easier said than done.

Even though the companies running the telecom industry are private, the government has been heavily involved in this industry, and it will have to be involved in its retirement. With close to 100 million Americans still dependent on the old technology, the FCC is taking steps to formalize the IP transition by drafting new rules starting in January 2014.

Currently three-quarters of the transition is complete and it is only a matter of time before the model the country has relied on for more than a century is completely eliminated. The legacy systems are extremely ineffective and expensive, costing telecoms large amounts of resources to maintain and upgrade the systems, costing the industry $81 billion between 2006 and 2011. By eliminating the system telecoms will be able to invest in new and future technologies that will improve the way we communicate across all platforms.

The biggest concern for the FCC and communities in underserved areas is IP technology will not be available everywhere. In rural areas traditional phone systems are the only means of communications available to these communities. Until the government is able to establish a new infrastructure for handling the new technology, it will have to find ways to extend the existing system. If the government is not willing to make this investment it can pass regulations for the fast transition of this technology with incentives for companies to make investments in the affected communities.