Telecommunications Policy

FCC Blocks Telecoms From Dumping Aging Switching Technology

Why not just require them to implement smoke signals?

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Six months after wireline telephone operators and trade groups asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to begin shutting down their aging switched networks, the agency responded late Friday, calling for further study.

In a public notice issued by an agency task force created in December 2012, the FCC reiterated the importance of accelerating the transition from switched networks to native IP infrastructure. But rather than approving limited trials to test technical and regulatory obstacles to a full conversion, the agency instead raised more questions about the trials and called for more rounds of comments.

The task force also indicated that the agency was only considering limited trials focused on testing voice over IP (VoIP) interconnection, next-generation 911 services, and the potential for moving some customers in very remote rural and mountain regions from aging copper networks to mobile broadband service.