AT&T responds as Wheeler sets pace for TDM to IP transition

Tom Wheeler, the FCC's new chairman, wants to get the TDM to IP transition moving and has proposed that the regulator issue an order on the matter at its upcoming meeting in January, a move that AT&T (NYSE: T) applauded. The incumbent's own IP migration has been stymied by the Commission's slow pace on the matter.

Tom Wheeler, FCC

Wheeler (Image source: CTIA)

Wheeler said in a blog post on Tuesday that this migration is the "Fourth Network Revolution" and that the Commission needs to stop looking over proposals and make decisions to move the process forward.

The FCC issued a public notice and sought comments from industry players like AT&T last November on the transition and set up the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force.

At that time, Wheeler's predecessor Julius Genachowski said those trials would look at the impact of IP transition in areas like next-generation 911, transitioning consumers from wireline to wireless services, and interconnection of VoIP traffic that's provided by incumbents and competitive providers.

"The Commission sought comments on those proposals and expanded the scope of its examination with the creation by Chairman Genachowski of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force, which issued a further Public Notice in May," Wheeler wrote in a blog post. "To that, and the earlier proceedings, the Commission has received more than 400 comments, letters, and presentations from companies and organizations, including incumbent carriers; rural carriers; competitive carriers; cable companies; wireless providers; VoIP providers; federal, state and local government entities; telecommunications equipment manufacturers and service providers; public safety entities; and public interest organizations."

During the FCC's next meeting in December, the task force will present a draft order that will focus on what impact transition experiments by carriers like AT&T would have on consumers and businesses, and on collecting data that will supplement the lessons learned from the experiments. Wheeler said another major component of the order should be how consumers are informed and protected.

This new development was applauded by AT&T, one of the lead advocates of this transition.

The telco has expressed frustration over the FCC's slow pace in giving it guidance on the next steps of conducting TDM to IP trials in two of its 4,500 wire centers.

"Our current infrastructure has served us well for almost a century but it no longer meets the needs of America's consumers," said Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president-External and Legislative Affairs for AT&T, in a blog post. "The transition to broadband and IP services that has already begun is driven by consumers who are moving to the Internet and choosing to connect in ways not imagined just a decade ago. Like any change it requires planning. The geographic trials directed by Chairman Wheeler will provide the real world answers needed to ensure a seamless transition."

For more:
- see Wheeler's blog post
- and AT&T's response

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