COMPTEL, Level 3, tw telecom say FCC should not approve AT&T's IP experiments

COMPTEL and a group of competitive service providers, including Level 3 and tw telecom, have asked the FCC to not approve AT&T's (NYSE: T) proposed TDM-to-IP trials in Alabama and Florida until the telco makes a number of "significant modifications" to its plan.

Cbeyond and Integra Telecom also participated in writing the joint letter to the FCC.

The group said that AT&T's proposal lacks critical information needed to conduct a meaningful review and, because of the specific wire centers targeted, the experiments will not generate the type of data necessary to fully understand the impact of the TDM-to-IP transition on residential, business and wholesale customers.

Angie Kronenberg, chief advocate and general counsel at COMPTEL, said in a release that "AT&T has not provided the evidence necessary to show that its trials will provide the needed insight into how the natural evolution to IP technology will address the needs of wholesale customers, as well as retail consumer and business users."

One of the key concerns cited by COMPTEL and service providers that participated in the joint letter is that AT&T does not provide enough detail about the replacement services it will make available to wholesale customers during the experiment and the timeline for the replacement voice services that will be made available to residential and business customers.

What's more, the group said that the proposal does not provide information about rates, terms and conditions on which replacement services will be offered to wholesale customers during the experiment as required by the commission's January order. 

This group is hardly alone in its concerns. Windstream made a similar filing last week with the FCC. In its filing, the service provider said that "the AT&T Proposal is far more fully defined and articulated with respect to the transition of AT&T's retail products and customers than its wholesale products and customers."

AT&T wrote in its own response to all parties that have filed concerns with the FCC that they have not presented enough evidence for the regulator to not approve the two trials.

"As we previously have acknowledged, AT&T does not have an answer to every question or issue posed by the IP transition, nor do we presume that we (or indeed any party) yet has identified every question that will arise during and after the trials," wrote AT&T in its filing. "But, that is the point of the trials AT&T has proposed — to provide a vehicle for identifying and addressing the very sorts of issues and concerns raised in the comments. Simply put, if we had all the answers, there would be no reason to conduct a trial."

In March, AT&T revealed in a separate FCC filing that it was expanding its Ethernet service presence, particularly in areas where it currently has local copper-based T-1 customers. It would begin offering three of its key AT&T Switched Ethernet (ASE) products including: ASE over fiber, ASE over Lightspeed/U-verse and ASE over Copper.

For more:
- here's COMPTEL's letter (.pdf)
- here's AT&T's overall response (.pdf)

Editor's Corner: AT&T's IP transition trial should consider impact on business customers

Related articles:
TelePacific, AT&T sign TDM-to-IP migration pact
Windstream says AT&T's IP pilot doesn't address FCC's wholesale rules
Granite Telecom ready to take part in AT&T's IP transition trials