CenturyLink is seeking the FCC’s permission to shut down a number of low-speed data and analog services in 24 states located in its predecessor company CenturyTel’s territories, citing lack of demand.
Specifically, the service provider wants to discontinue seven of its wholesale interstate analog and low-speed data services: Metallic, Telegraph, Narrowband, Wideband analog, Wideband Digital, Program Audio and Analog Video services. CenturyLink, which offers these services through CenturyLink’s FCC’s Tariff numbers 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, has requested to shut down these analog and low-speed data services by September 22, 2017.
The service provider said in its FCC filing (PDF) that “there are no customers for any of these low-speed analog services.”
All of these services were used for applications that were part of a bygone era that have been replaced by more modern IP-based services.
Take the Telegraph Grade Special Access Services. Typically, these services were used for applications such as teletypewriter, telegraph grade control/remote metering, telegraph grade channel, telegraph grade extension, and telegraph grade entrance facilities.
A Telegraph Grade channel is an unconditioned channel capable of transmitting binary signals at rates of 0-75 or 0-150 baud. These channels were typically provided between customer-designated premises or between a customer and a telephone company hub or hubs.
CenturyLink is hardly alone. Fellow telco Cincinnati Bell asked the FCC in 2016 for similar permission to shut down its Telegraph Grade Service in its service area.
Similar to CenturyLink, Cincinnati Bell said that the “public convenience and necessity will not be impaired by this proposed service discontinuance since there is no demand for this service."
CenturyLink also wants to shut down its legacy ATM and Frame Relay services, which a growing majority of its business customers have transitioned off to Ethernet and IP-based services, so it plans to ask the FCC for permission again to discontinue these services.
The rift between CenturyLink’s legacy and next-gen services will become even more evident once it completes its acquisition of Level 3 Communications.