Alcatel-Lucent unveils transition solution for service providers' PSTN voice networks

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has introduced a new solution that it says will help service providers, particularly those with large PSTN networks, migrate to an all-IP network infrastructure.

The vendor is now offering its Smart Transform solution, which provides consulting and design services that will enable PSTN transformation plans for operators to protect the business value of high-margin voice services while optimizing costs, removing network complexity/risk and growing revenue.

Service providers will get access to industrialized planning and migration services adaptable to any customer situation using a set of methodologies, processes and patented tools to transfer users from PSTN services to new, IP-based voice services.

Alcatel-Lucent's timing could not be better.

Although the PSTN still serves over 700 million residential and business customer worldwide and represents a major revenue stream for Tier 1 providers, these networks are becoming cost-prohibitive to operate and maintain. This is due to the fact that the switches that carry PSTN services consume a lot of electricity and skilled PSTN technicians continue to retire from their jobs.

Energy consumption continues to be an issue with the PSTN. According to industry estimates, there are 30,000 central offices (COs) that house TDM-based equipment in the United States alone. Legacy COs consume 350 billion kilowatts of power a year, which translates into 30 power plants and 1.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

A number of large telcos are looking at ways to decommission PSTN and migrate to all-IP networks, but even they admit the process is highly complex since there are so many customer touch points.

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), for one, is in the process of decommissioning legacy COs and copper lines across its footprint.

By converting a CO to fiber, Verizon said during the recent Genband Perspectives 15 conference that it can reduce real estate space by 60-80 percent. In decommissioning a legacy Class 5 switch and related copper, it can reduce the CO footprint from 13 floors to just one or two floors, for example.  

However, the telco still faces various challenges in that it still has to run a parallel copper network because there are users that want a copper-based POTS phone line.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Genband's Walsh: ILEC TDM voice Central Offices find new lives as data centers
Verizon sees value in transforming network to IP, fiber, but conversion challenges remain
Nokia's $16.6B bid for Alcatel-Lucent puts company back into the wireline game

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