AT&T expands Ethernet availability in legacy TDM T-1 service markets

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AT&T (NYSE: T) has taken another step in advancing its TDM-to-IP transition, particularly for business and wholesale customers, by expanding its Ethernet service presence, according to filings it made with the FCC.

The service provider said its product management team is conducting two key initiatives to advance its AT&T Switched Ethernet (ASE) platforms. It is developing and positioning Ethernet products in four markets and expanding its Ethernet footprint where it currently has local copper-based T-1 customers.

These products include ASE over fiber, ASE over Lightspeed/U-verse and ASE over Copper.

Earlier this month, the service provider met with the FCC to go over its plans to create and deploy alternative Ethernet products for its declining DSn service base. According to a Frost & Sullivan report, Frame Relay will decline to 0.1 percent by 2017.

"The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current status of, and expectations for further development and deployment of, replacements for AT&T's current DSn services, including switched and dedicated Ethernet service, as well as the capabilities of those replacement services," wrote AT&T in a letter to the FCC.

AT&T said that its Local Private Line/Special Access volumes have been shrinking each month for over a year while seeing continual increases in IP/Ethernet. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the telco reported that next-gen services such as VPN, Ethernet, cloud and hosting grew 17.4 percent over the fourth quarter of 2012.

While it is true that the industry is transitioning to IP/Ethernet, the reality is it is not everywhere yet. AT&T came under fire from wholesale customers like Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) and Sprint (NYSE: S) for its proposal to end long-term contracts for T1 and DS-3 circuits and the discounts that were included in those contracts. Later, the FCC decided to delay AT&T's special access rate increase request so it could conduct further investigation into the matter.

For more:
- see this FCC letter (.pdf)
- and this presentation (.pdf)

Editor's Corner: AT&T's IP transition trial should consider impact on business customers

Related articles:
FCC delays AT&T's special access request
Windstream asks FCC to investigate AT&T's special access increase proposals
AT&T responds as Wheeler sets pace for TDM to IP transition
Sprint, other competitive carriers rail against AT&T's special access rate increase