FCC to Tackle PSTN Shutdown Issues

By Gary Kim November 20, 2013

Nothing ever is really easy for communications regulators when it comes to crafting rules that promote both competition and investment, as well as “fair” policies when industries collide or a major transition has to be made from older technologies to newer technologies.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission therefore will not face a politically easy task when it once again engages in December 2013, with the process of speeding the transition from legacy time division multiplex networks to Internet Protocol networks.

The transition includes other elements, such as the transition from copper access to fiber and other forms of access, the rules that should apply to legacy services in the transition and whether the new networks also require different policy frameworks.

The FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force will present a status update in December, with the expectation that an order for immediate action will be considered. That means the FCC will ask for further input on what experiments need to be conducted on how IP networks can, and should work.

The order also will ask for input on processes the FCC can use to guide the shutdown of the older public network and the activation of new IP networks.

Recently, for example, there has been friction between buyers of special access services and sellers of such services. But disputes over special access rates and terms of service have been contentious for some time.

Buyers of special access services frequently have complained about high prices for special access. In 2012, the FCC suspended pricing freedom rules for special access services, because of such friction.

Most recently, AT&T changed its multi-year contract rates, in anticipation of a complete phase out of special access services, in favor of Ethernet only high-bandwidth services.

That illustrates the many practical considerations the FCC will face as it plans for a shutdown of the older network and the substitution of an all-IP network.

Many bigger issues will have to be confronted, though, including such issues as the extent of common carrier rules in an environment where some telcos, but not other service providers, must comply with such rules.

Those rules will necessarily affect policy about investment in rural and hard-to-serve areas, for example.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing Editor

Related Articles

The World is His Oyster: Connected Solutions Enable Daniel Ward to See Food

By: Paula Bernier    3/16/2018

Fresh seafood can taste great, but if it is not handled properly, people can get sick, and that can lead to business closures and lost revenues. That'…

Read More

How to Get Ready for GDPR if You've Waited Until the Last Minute

By: Special Guest    3/14/2018

With less than two months until the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) deadline, many companies have already started making sure that their bu…

Read More

How Fintech is Helping Create Global Businesses

By: Special Guest    3/14/2018

The growth of Fintech probably has not escaped your attention. Whether you're a customer making contactless payments or an investor weighing up CFD tr…

Read More

Are We Prepared for Automation?

By: Special Guest    3/13/2018

We are barreling toward a future of automation. A great proportion of the six million US manufacturing jobs that have disappeared over the last few de…

Read More

The Dark Web - A Hot Bed for Cybercrime

By: Special Guest    3/12/2018

There is a corner of the internet that is cloaked from every day users. Beneath the typical search engines and web browsers, an illegal marketplace is…

Read More