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AT&T asks the FCC to drop legislation requiring it to support a wireline network

There is a big change underway in the way Americans get voice communications. Years ago, most consumers used plain old wire phone services. As wireless services have come along more and more users are migrating to mobile phones as their preferred voice access, many are also turning to cheaper VoIP phone access.

The writing is on the wall and the days of the wired phone in homes are coming to an end. The FCC issued a request for comment on all-IP telephone networks and GigaOM reports that AT&T filed its response. The AT&T filing spanned 32 pages and asked the FCC to remove regulatory requirements that it support a landline network and to provide a deadline for phasing out landline networks in the country.

The reason AT&T and other providers are keen to get away from landlines is that the networks are expensive to maintain. The revenue that is generated by wired landline networks is also falling. AT&T offered some statistics in its filing that show the decline is clearly underway. Between 2000 and 2008, total interstate and intrastate switched access minutes fell 42%. AT&T also reports that revenue from wireless phone service sell from $178.6 billion in 2000 to $130.8 billion in 2007, a decrease of 27%.

At the same time, VoIP subscribers are growing -- AT&T claims that at least 18 million homes currently use VoIP in America. AT&T estimates that by 2010 cable companies will be providing VoIP service to 24 million customers in America.

AT&T is also asking the FCC to reform the Universal Service Fund. The FCC is already considering a reform of the Universal Service Fund to help pay for the national broadband infrastructure, which would tie in with the nationwide VoIP network that AT&T wants. AT&T also wants the FCC to look at how to handle public safety and people with disabilities on VoIP networks.





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