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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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Can AT&T can pull this off?
By blueeyesm on 12/30/2009 2:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
Some people who still feel the need to have a phone will move to another company will provide that. But, if other companies quickly follow suit, are they ignoring a demographic?

Home security systems use the phone line as it doesn't rely on electricity to be on in the home. How will these companies react/change? Yet another device with an antenna that can be remotely accessible?

How does this affect DSL subscriptions if AT&T totally abandons POTS? Will AT&T move to a 'wireless DSL' system? If so, this makes DSL modems obsolete, thus also forcing home networking equipment makers to, in time, abandon wired/wireless networking products within the home.

I agree with scrapsma54 - improve the current plant so that it costs relative pennies to maintain, such as VoIP.




RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By muhahaaha on 12/30/2009 3:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
First off, VoIP phones still get routed through the PTN (Public Telephone Network), which is mostly wired.

Secondly, I don't have a land line but have a security system which uses a built in wireless phone to communicate back to the security company (with 24 hr battery backup). No lines to cut, so more secure...

Look for high tech crooks jamming cell broadcasts soon though


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By muhahaaha on 12/30/2009 3:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
Also, QWest and others are moving to hubs via Fiber Optics and delivering the service via a short distance line to your home.

All they need is a twisted pair of copper wire to get to your house... doesn't matter if there is analog telephone running through it or not.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By gerf on 12/30/2009 4:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
AFAIK, there are battery backups with FIOS at each home, to keep phone lines working. I'd assume that they'd do the same with VoIP changes as proposed.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By Souka on 12/31/2009 11:32:18 AM , Rating: 2
My Mom has Comcast phone/internet package.... the modem has an internal battery so when power goes out, her "land-line" phones still work.

Well not the cordless ones, but she has a corded one on each floor, and her cell phone.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By FITCamaro on 12/30/2009 3:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
How does DSL having issues affect companies who make wired and wireless networking products? If DSL did change how you got service, the new method would still plug into your routers WAN port.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By blueeyesm on 12/30/2009 7:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
if you have 'wireless DSL' they could just feed your PC directly via a USB stick, as some services have today. Only, it would become the norm.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By mindless1 on 1/6/2010 4:58:07 AM , Rating: 2
The same is true for direct ethernet or wifi connection to a DSL modem, but you are wrong.

1) There isn't sufficient bandwidth for every PC to have an individual link to a provider.

2) Accounts are generally single login, not multiple simultaneous. You still need the router as the one *system* connected to the provider and doing NAT to service requests from others.

3) You still want higher bandwidth in your LAN than wireless DSL could ever hope to provide, and that puts all systems on the WAN not the LAN which is a huge security concern.

It won't be the norm at all to do as you suggest. Only a one-PC home would have, not a USB stick because of the signal issues needing large antenna and USB being so poor an interface, a single direct to PC connection if they don't care about security, otherwise it is no different than with current DSL modems, but instead of connecting to the POTS your signal goes into a 2 way radio module in the modem.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By Mitch101 on 12/30/2009 3:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T used to have Call-vantage. I used it when Sun Rocket went belly up but several months back they said they were getting rid of it and I'm back on Vonage because of that.

Alarm systems have been able to use Cell Phone signals for a while now.

If they are given a drop dead date it will probably be 5-10 years out. Not something overnight this is as big if not bigger than the drop dead of analog TV signals.

Yes that might be a major problem for DSL carriers who rely on it. I wonder if DSL companies could then force the hands of those cable monopolies?

Its probably a bid to get the government to be forced to support the land line infrastructure and off AT&T's books or cut AT&T a check to support the infrastructure.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By Oregonian2 on 12/30/2009 3:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Home security systems use the phone line as it doesn't rely on electricity to be on in the home.


Already a problem. My POTS is delivered by FiOS which has a battery backup that only lasts about 8 hours I think.

And Verizon is attempting to abandon wireline support in my state (abandoning my FiOS while they're at it). Maybe Frontier will eventually own the entire wireline system in the country (along with some FiOS as well).


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By threepac3 on 12/30/2009 3:49:32 PM , Rating: 2
Meh I'm fine with POTS over fiber with Verizon. I have a home security system connected over FIOS service and haven't had any trouble. I say good riddance, maybe they can pass the savings to us... Doubtful.


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By cornelius785 on 12/30/2009 5:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
I sure wouldn't mind the savings, but a faster deployment of fiber (FTTH ideally, or FTTN with FTTH with just around the corner) sure would be nice. How many years have we been listening to people promising the benefits?


RE: Can AT&T can pull this off?
By johnsonx on 12/31/2009 1:43:14 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
How does this affect DSL subscriptions if AT&T totally abandons POTS? Will AT&T move to a 'wireless DSL' system? If so, this makes DSL modems obsolete, thus also forcing home networking equipment makers to, in time, abandon wired/wireless networking products within the home.


No, I really don't think that AT&T wants to abandon WIRE. They just want to stop providing legacy analog telephone service on those wires. In other words, they want to go data-only. That way they can get rid of all the analog switching equipment.


By Mike Acker on 1/3/2010 11:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
POTS is as dead as C-41 film.

the reason: co-ax carries more data and fiber carries more than co-ax

it may be that wireless will "take over providing that "last 100m", eliminating the need to run co-ax from the cable to the home.

even if that happens and i think it will, the cable plant will still be needed at some level in order to service the wireless links

nuff on that now, time for football.


network to waste
By bwave on 12/30/2009 10:28:22 PM , Rating: 3
I think one of the saddest things at the end of 21st century was how we let our copper infastructure go to waste. Think of how much it would/will cost to rebuild it, the right of ways necessary to re-run the utilities. It's truely ashame no one came up with a way to provide broadband effectively over it. Why was DSL never able to catch on? Was it the quality of the network (surely improvements could have been made) or did the telcos just drag their feet too long? (or did they purposely allow to happen?) My biggest worry is the lack of redunacy (and lack of capacity) on the wireless networks. I just feel like I'll be a crazy old guy telling my grandchildren about the grand ole days with them rolling their eyes.




RE: network to waste
By B166ER on 12/31/2009 12:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
DSL didn't catch on because it was, frankly, too slow. The capacity to reach higher speeds might have been there, but Cable delivered while DSL was still bragging about FT56k (Faster Than 56k).
But your point of it going to waste matters infinitely. I watched a docu the other day, Collapse, about this dude that has found all the conspiracy theories and revealed them. One of the big deals he said was about how unsustainable the world is compared to the needs of the populations, and as the title states, a collapse could (will) happen. Anyways, he mentions about how to survive if such a scenario happens, and having a land line was a big part of it. He says the telco's wont have the resources to keep up with the satellites, but land lines, copper, its already there, and reaches huge amounts of the globe. Cells wont be too reliable then, but landlines will. Guess the same is true if nuke war breaks out or so.


RE: network to waste
By StevoLincolnite on 12/31/2009 4:32:25 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
DSL didn't catch on because it was, frankly, too slow. The capacity to reach higher speeds might have been there, but Cable delivered while DSL was still bragging about FT56k (Faster Than 56k).


Actually DSL is incredibly cost effective if companies installed DSLAMS into RIMS and other cabinets around to provide a larger range of coverage with better speeds.

Generally if a provider Installs VDSL hardware and you are within say... 1km of the DSLAM itself you could potentially achieve up-to 100mbps downstream, the closer you are the faster it becomes, and at about 2.5km's it's about even with ADSL 2+.

I'm currently using ADSL 2+ Annex M, I manage to get 14mbps downstream and 2.5mbps upstream. - Sure I would *love* for faster speeds but that won't happen unless I move closer to my exchange or my ISP installs an ADSL 2+ capable RIM between me and the exchange. (Ample back haul to the Exchange would also be required.)

DSL is not slow by any length IF the infrastructure is implemented correctly.

Take for example a business here locally has a Mini-DSLAM installed inside the business wall, which provides 100mbps VDSL to the business. (It was a test case for the technology.) - That sir' is not *slow* DSL and it still uses the old Copper.

So next time don't blame DSL as being the lagging technology, blame your ISP's for not implementing the hardware, because there are many examples where DSL is the main broadband internet connection method in countries, take for instance like Australia.


RE: network to waste
By seamonkey79 on 12/31/2009 9:13:03 AM , Rating: 3
I've got 6mbps DSL through AT&T right now, in a town that cable was only offering 3mbps at the time. Now, cable is offering 8mbps for the low low price of twice as much, and that's only if I get digital cable and VOIP phone through them, no thanks.


Does this affect the DSL network as well?
By sparkuss on 12/30/2009 2:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
Would a loss of AT&T wired be a loss or gain for DSL subscribers? Would other providers pick up the market or is everyone going to follow AT&T?




RE: Does this affect the DSL network as well?
By OUits on 12/30/2009 3:08:29 PM , Rating: 2
DSL only runs through the "last-mile" local loop on copper to the DSLAM in the switching office, and then it's off to the Internet. So, if AT&T migrates to a packet "core" network, their copper local loops would still be intact (and sold off, most probably) and DSL wouldn't be in jeopardy.


By Oregonian2 on 12/30/2009 3:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
That's the question. DSL companies rely on the copper loops that the local phone company owns and wants to stop supporting and maintaining. So if Frontier or some other company doesn't want to buy it, and AT&T just drops support, it'd be cell-phone only.


All I can think of..
By omnicronx on 12/30/2009 3:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
Is the power went out on the eastern seaboard a few years back. I had pretty much everyone on my street coming to my house as they all had powered phones and no cell calls were going through. (My family doesnt like change, to this day we still have a rotary phone..)

So this begs the question, what happens when the power goes out?




RE: All I can think of..
By Lerianis on 12/31/2009 1:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
Most of these things have backup power supplies today, that can run for AT LEAST 12 hours. Really, there shouldn't be any 'power going out' in this country anymore except in the most EXTREME conditions.... that is why power companies are required to have the power on at least 98% of the time in most states.


RE: All I can think of..
By mindless1 on 1/6/2010 5:02:03 AM , Rating: 2
Nonsense. All it takes is a car hitting the wrong telephone pole, bolt of lightning, etc.

Power supplies still need wires to get *there*.


By killerb255 on 12/30/2009 5:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
...I guess they'll have to go VoIP as well. Many small businesses still use landlines...




By Lerianis on 12/31/2009 1:21:45 AM , Rating: 2
Not just small businesses... I personally don't have a cell phone (my parents do) because I do most of my work from home, where I am in close contact with a phone!

This is a bad idea... they still do not have cell phone triangulation technologies in most areas, most businesses still use landlines, etc. etc. etc.

Maybe in 50 years it will be okay to remove the landlines.... not right now.


its about Broadband
By GruntboyX on 12/30/2009 3:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
They just want the ability to compete fairly with Comcast and other Cable Telco's. Comcast/Cox/Timewarner operate video networks and are not subject to such regulations of land line operators. With AT&T offering UVerse, i see them trying to move to the more lucrative cable market.And to compete fairly they want to abandon their traditional land line networks. This would allow them to upgrade everything to Digital and offer voip service instead. Just as cable operators do today.

I actually think this is a good thing. Its not that the land line is going away. AT&T just realizes that they cannot get the bulk of there revenue from traditional voice services. Thus they want the ability to adapt and move to other markets and switch there voice networks to voip. If the FCC denies them this request watch them file another request that cable operators be under the same regulations as Telco's for voice service.




Not Progress...
By Chaca on 12/31/2009 11:38:45 AM , Rating: 2
Eliminating redundancy is not progress. Besides, who likes to have a 1 hour+ conversation on a cell phone? The audio quality and reliability are still not there on cell phones.

Just my 2 cents.




What was the old saying...
By peterlws08 on 12/30/2009 7:14:46 PM , Rating: 1
Privatise profit and socialise loss..




Naw, I don't think so.
By scrapsma54 on 12/30/09, Rating: -1
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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