Transitioning To An All-IP Communications Architecture

There’s no question that the communications network landscape is shifting in the U.S.  Consumers are continuing to demonstrate an incredible demand for mobile broadband services. Communications networks are transitioning from circuit-switched models to Internet protocol (IP) based technologies that provide consumers with integrated access to a variety of applications and producers that offer services such as voice, data and video.  

In a recent FCC filing , CTIA proposed specific areas for reform that should be included in the Commission’s discussion of how to prepare for the transition to an all-IP world in the context of a National Broadband Plan (NBP). At the same time, CTIA cautions that the NBP should not impede the telecommunications and information networks transition to the most efficient network architecture.

CTIA specifically identified the following three areas of consideration for the FCC: 

  • Guarantee regulatory parity during the transition to IP networks – In addition, the Commission must explore how to ensure that neither circuit-switched nor IP-based providers are advantaged or disadvantaged by regulatory structures while the two types of networks operate concurrently and compete with one another. 
  • Ensure net neutrality does not impede the transition – The Commission should be wary of the unintended consequences that can result from the imposition of network management restrictions on wireless networks, particularly as the level of sharing between services increases with the move to an all-IP network. Regulation of one area of this complex, interdependent ecosystem will impact other areas, and the FCC should be cognizant of the potential for the unintended consequence of providing a disincentive to the transition to IP-based networks.
  • Account for the impact of the network transition on universal service and intercarrier compensation – The move to all-IP networks is a good opportunity for the FCC to modernize the universal service and intercarrier compensation regimes to reflect current consumers’ preference for mobile broadband services. 

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