+1 212 318 2000
Europe, Middle East, & Africa
+44 20 7330 7500
+65 6212 1000
AT&T Inc. lent support July 29 to Verizon Communications Inc.'s plan to eliminate landline telephone service permanently for a few hundred residents on New York's Fire Island, saying it would make “no sense” for state or federal regulators to try to require Verizon to rebuild the copper infrastructure that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
“That would force Verizon to invest in obsolete facilities and equipment, much of which has been or soon will be discontinued by their manufacturers, and for which replacement parts and knowledgeable technicians are increasingly scarce, if not altogether unavailable,” AT&T wrote in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission.
“More importantly, even if those facilities and equipment were readily available, it is unlikely that any provider would have a business case for deploying such facilities in the locations at issue, given their unique geography and demographic conditions,” the company added. “Where, as here, there is no prospect for adequate recovery of investment in network facilities, the [FCC] could not lawfully order a service provider to make such investments.”
Verizon's request to the New York Public Service Commission and FCC has become a flash point in the debate over whether regulators should allow telecommunications providers to permanently stop selling what is known as POTS--Plain Old Telephone Service--and start offering their customers internet protocol-based equivalents or, in some cases, home wireless services.
In Verizon's case, the company wants to offer such a wireless service, Voice Link, to the western end of Fire Island, rather than replace the old copper wires capable of carrying POTS calls.
The public-interest community has cried foul, arguing that Voice Link cannot support broadband internet service, fax machines, some medical devices, or alarm systems. In a recent letter to the New York Public Service Commission, Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, wrote: “It is clear that Verizon is leveraging the storm damage from Sandy as part of its long-term strategy to abandon its copper networks.”
But in AT&T's view, the IP transition is “inevitable, driven by market forces and technological changes.”
“Equipment manufacturers have stopped making or are phasing out TDM [time division multiplexing] equipment, making it difficult--and soon impossible--to maintain the facilities and equipment used to provide traditional, wireline voice telecommunications services,” the company said. “Likewise, the workforce that has the expertise to support TDM services and networks is aging, and on the cusp of retirement.”
Much to AT&T's chagrin, the FCC in May decided to seek comment on, rather than approve outright, geographic trials in which the company's and other incumbent local exchange carriers' voice services would be delivered entirely over IP networks--rather than over traditional copper networks.
In its filing to the FCC, AT&T made another call for action.
“The trials will provide a vehicle for identifying the issues created by the transition to all-IP networks and services, and a forum for all stakeholders to identify gaps and potential solutions in an environment in which a TDM safety net still is in place,” it said. “The trials will provide real-world evidence and experience regarding the effects of the transition, and enable the industry, together with the Commission and other stakeholders, to avoid disruptions and consumer harm as the transition continues.”
For AT&T's filing, visit http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/proceeding/view?name=13-150.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).