FCC's Call for Help With IP-Based Phone System Is Answered

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-07-25 Print this article Print

The third fundamental is "Consumer Protection." The same privacy principles that apply to the copper networks should apply to IP, PK argues, and so should truth-in-billing practices and consumers' rights to the timely resolution of an issue.

"When you lose connection to your voice service, especially when that happens to a whole community at once [as it did on Fire Island, N.Y., during Hurricane Sandy], that's a disaster," said Griffin.

The fourth fundamental is "Reliability," which in short means that when someone places a call, it needs to go through with the same fitness we expect from the current system.

The FCC plans to run pilot programs before setting policy, and PK has referred to the situation on Fire Island, where Verizon has deployed a solution called Voice Link instead of laying new copper, as a pilot program already underway.

"I feel bad for Verizon, they got a bad hand [with Hurricane Sandy]," said Feld. "But their decision of what's good enough is not what the people of Fire Island think is good enough—or frankly what we think is good enough."

Finally, the fifth fundamental is "Public Safety."

"We cannot assume that the carriers will voluntarily bear the expense of building robustness in the networks themselves, in particular because carriers have not always voluntarily increased their network reliability in the past," states the report. "For example, one study estimated that 75 percent of the power-related outages from 1996 to 2003 could have been avoided if carriers had followed the best system practices established by the Network Reliability Steering Committee."

Feld added during the call, "These are values. We don't say, 'Let's not have a rule against assault until there's evidence of an assault problem.' No ... you establish it so it's there when you need it. Not when it's too late."

He continued, "The FCC has asked, 'What should guide us?' We're saying, these five fundamentals are the checklist."


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