AT&T sets TDM-to-IP transition trials to focus on challenges, service impact

AT&T (NYSE: T) brought proposals to the FCC to begin testing its TDM-to-IP transition and to set a timeline to make these changes throughout its 4,700 wire centers.

During a recent meeting with the FCC's Technology Transition Task Force, the telco said that it would focus on conducting service-based experiments in wiring centers that "represent the challenges it will face with the transition and conduct an extensive review of the services to be impacted as part of this experiment."

The telco added that the tests will represent a mix of both consumer and business services geographies. It will also incorporate reporting capabilities "as a means for keeping the FCC informed about any experiments in progress."  

Out of the three largest telcos, AT&T has been the most vocal proponent of the TDM-to-IP transition, which it plans to complete by 2020.

AT&T previously expressed frustration over a lack of action from the regulator on the transition. New FCC chairman Tom Wheeler proposed that the regulator issue an order on the matter at its upcoming meeting this month.

In tandem with its TDM-to-IP transition, the telco also discussed with the FCC its proposal to eliminate discounts on long-term contracts for TDM-based special access circuits. This proposal has drawn fire from a number of competitive providers, including Sprint (NYSE: S), tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), which argue AT&T is abusing its dominant position in the wholesale special access market.

While AT&T maintains that its tariff proposals are "lawful," they are looking at ways to create a "viable path to the TDM-to-IP transition." It proposed a number of modifications that it said would enable wholesale customers to still purchase and maintain DSn (digital signal) services and related pricing closer to the 2020 IP transition deadline.

For more:
- see the FCC transition filing (.pdf)

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