FCC Collects Comments on IP Transition

Pondering how to make the switch to all-IP world
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Reply comments were being filed Monday on the transition to
all-IP networks, including AT&T's request that it be allowed to test
regulation-lite, all-IP zones and USTelecom's request that given the
competition from those IP services, incumbent LECs should no longer be considered
dominant as providers of switched-access service.

In both cases the idea is to reduce deregulation in the face
of a changing technology.

The Internet Innovation Alliance, which comprises tech
companies building and deploying broadband networks -- Corning, AT&T,
Alcatel-Lucent -- not surprisingly said in its filing that AT&T should be
permitted to beta test all-IP service. "To continue expanding the array of
social and economic benefits for American business and consumers, the
Commission should ignore the call of entities seeking to expand legacy
regulations in an all-IP world," IIA says.

Public Knowledge does not join the call for light touch regulation.
"[T]he FCC should remember that even though the technology is changing the
needs of the American people do not," said senior VP Harold Feld. "A
framework that serves the interests of consumers is the best way to evaluate
proposals for the future of our communications infrastructure."

Public Knowledge also points out that while most commenters
on both sides have suggested there be some regulatory backstop to an all-IP
network, Comcast does not. Comcast warned about "regulatory slippage into
oversight of IP interconnection....[R]equests for regulatory intervention into
IP-to-IP interconnection agreements for voice services are premature and likely
would prove harmful."

Even the National Cable and Telecommunications Association,
of which Comcast is the largest member, does not go as far. "The Commission
generally should maintain a light regulatory approach for IP-based retail voice
service," NCTA said in its initial filing [it is not filing reply
comments] but it should oversee interconnection for the exchange of voice
traffic to ensure there is no harmful disruption to competitive providers and
their customers as a result of the incumbent LECs' technological
transition."

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