Perhaps I spent too much time developing advertising for telecoms, but this is exciting news! AT&T has asked the FCC to let it eliminate Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Also, AT&T is looking for regulatory help from the FCC to transition away from copper phone lines. So, it seems, AT&T has declared the future of telecommunications is digital.
No doubt, digital is simply how everything is done today. So, dumping POTS in favor of an all-IP network that allows the integration of voice, video and data in unique new ways makes a lot of sense. The opportunity is boundless. But the regulatory complexity of moving the 20% of Americans still using landline services to IP is inhibiting.
If this request is more or less an attempt by AT&T to finagle its way out of providing universal service, then it is a bad thing. If, however, eliminating POTS paves the way to a greater communications infrastructure that supports and enhances the digital future for everyone, then it is a necessary and very good thing. The key is to establish appropriate regulatory policies to make the all IP network an affordable reality while ensuring that everyone makes the leap into the bright new digital future.
Click here for the AT&T filing with the FCC.