FCC's Call for Help With IP-Based Phone System Is Answered
Fire Island, post Hurricane Sandy, makes clear the need for good policy around IP-based networks. Public Knowledge offers the FCC a 5-point checklist.The nation's phone companies have begun the process of transitioning from the classic copper and time-division multiplexing (TDM) technologies to new Internet protocol (IP) technology, and with it the federal government has begun considering how to govern around these changes, as the old rules apply not to the concept of a national telephone system but to the copper network itself. To aid regulators in their task, on July 25 consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge released a white paper offering a framework—or five sound pieces of advice—for establishing the new policy. The transition is already underway—AT&T has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to replace some TDM- and copper-based services with wireless-only products, and Verizon is experimenting with a wireless-only fix in areas of New York and New Jersey where Hurricane Sandy destroyed the copper system. "Things are starting to go wrong," Harold Feld, a PK senior vice president and co-author of the report with PK Senior Staff Attorney Jodie Griffin, said during a July 24 conference call to announce the paper.
"We think part of the problem is this has been a debate about regulations, rather than about values," said Feld. There's no reason that delivering the same services using different technologies should result in "radically different policy goals."