AT&T plans to shut down 'certain' copper network assets

AT&T (NYSE: T) is going to shut down certain copper assets as it moves forward with its ongoing IP network transition, according to an SEC filing.

As a result of abandoning these copper assets, AT&T's fourth-quarter 2014 operating results will also include a $2.1 billion noncash charge. AT&T will release its fourth-quarter 2014 earnings on Jan. 27.

"During the fourth quarter, we performed an analysis of our network assets and determined that specific copper assets will not be necessary to support future network activity, due to declining customer demand for our legacy voice and data products and the migration of our networks to next generation technology," AT&T said in the SEC filing.

However, the service provider did not specify the markets where it would be "abandoning" copper assets and AT&T did not respond to a request for comment.

From an overall network perspective, AT&T has developed a plan to move its network to an all-IP infrastructure by 2020.

In 2014, the service provider began conducting IP transition trials in two areas that it said have contrasting dynamics: a rural area in Carbon Hill, Ala., and a more suburban area in West Delray Beach, Fla. Those trials were set on giving the FCC additional information on how they can permit AT&T and other traditional telcos to stop offering traditional wireline POTS service as more residential customers migrate toward wireless and over-the-top IP-based VoIP providers like Vonage (NYSE: VG) and Skype for voice service.  

Fellow ILEC CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) asked the FCC for permission to conduct its own TDM-to-IP trials in its Las Vegas market with a particular focus on business customers replacing their traditional POTS voice services with VoIP. 

For more:
- see the SEC filing

Related articles:
AT&T to conduct TDM-to-IP transition tests in Alabama, Florida
AT&T responds as Wheeler sets pace for TDM to IP transition
AT&T, Verizon execs cite 'chilling' effect of murky TDM-to-IP transition regs
IP technology transition trials proposed by FCC met with mixed response

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