As technologies evolve, so too must the infrastructure lines upon which our nation’s broadband connections are built. The days of POTS (plain old telephone service) are behind us, and telecommunications companies across the nation are about to embark upon what Federal Communications Commissioner Chairman Tom Wheeler is calling “values trials” of Internet protocol (“IP”) based networks.
AT&T, the nation’s second largest wireless provider, has announced that it will begin its IP trials in Carbon Hill, Alabama and West Delray Beach, Florida. The thought is that these two locations, one rural and the other a suburban area with a large population of seniors, will teach AT&T lessons that it can use in transitioning its 4700 wire centers across the country to meet its goal of completing the IP transition by the end of 2020.
Hank Hultquist, Vice President of Federal Regulatory for AT&T, says of this latest announcement that the company was “guided by certain, fundamental principles and values, which were articulated by the Commission in its order authorizing these trials and have formed the basis of communications law and policy over the past century.
“These are the principles and values that have made America’s communications network the envy of the world – universal connectivity, consumer protection, public safety, reliability and competition. These should continue to apply as we complete the transition to all-IP networks and services while also evolving to reflect marketplace and technological developments.
Back in 2012, AT&T invested $14 billion in Project Velocity, its effort to significantly expand its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks over the course of three years.
With its IP trials, AT&T can continue to refine its delivery of robust network options that support growing consumer demand.