Leaning Toward The IP Future
By Joan Marsh
Three years ago, AT&T commenced two technology transition trials with the goal of identifying and resolving operational, technical, and public policy issues associated with migrating legacy TDM services to an IP future.
Now, three years later, AT&T has achieved many of the goals it established for the trials: the trials accelerated and increased the dialogue around the impacts of an IP transition on different customer segments; AT&T grandfathered numerous business TDM-based services with no evidence of customer disruption; and perhaps most importantly, customers that voluntarily transitioned to IP services during the trials continued to receive exceptional service quality and customer care. In sum, the trials were a success in no small part due to the participation of and dialogue with key stakeholders representing persons with disabilities, seniors, the public safety community, federal, state and local governments, policymakers and others.
During this same time period, the FCC was busy as well. The Commission issued two orders establishing a framework and rules for technology transitions, including processes and standards for discontinuing retail voice and wholesale services, as well as updating certain requirements for retiring legacy facilities. While AT&T has challenged certain aspects of those orders, the rules of the road for the IP transition have now been established and the path forged. As a result, we announced today that we are terminating the two trials.
The lessons learned from these trials will be invaluable as massive increases in data traffic, mobile devices, and cloud-based applications continue to dramatically change the way telecommunications networks operate. AT&T is accelerating its pace of innovation as it charges ahead with the Internet of Things (IoT) and migration to IP-based software-defined networks (SDNs). Our networks currently handle 117 petabytes of data per day, and that traffic is expected to increase 10 times by 2020, mostly due to the growth in IoT, virtual reality and streaming video. And 5G is just around the corner. In short, the march to completing the IP transition is on, and the lessons learned from the trials position us to better understand and manage its impact as we forge our way toward the all-IP future.