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Sunday, November 20, 2011

FCC holds workshop on Switched Telephone Network in transition

Old Ericsson Phone

Image by Alexandre Dulaunoy via Flickr

For those of us in the technology field and most tech savvy consumers, as well as 40% age 18-30, an analogue phone connected to a pair of wires, heading off to a central switch, may seem antique and obsolete. The facts are that many still depend on this for communication. However those numbers are dwindling fast, and the time to consider the way forward, according to the FCC, is now.

According to a Mercury news report in 2009, the recession gave a “push” and for the first time during the last half of 2008, American homes with cell phones but no landlines outnumbered those with landlines but no wireless devices, due to consumers being forced to make an economic choice of one over the other. According to an April 2011 CBS news report a new federal study says that more than a quarter of homes in the United States now have only a wireless phone.

FCC regulations govern many aspects of the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) such as equipment interoperability and protection of the network, access for persons with disabilities, hearing aid compatibility and others. The FCC will need to evaluate these issues more intently as the move to alternative forms of  main communication hastens.

The FCC will be holding two workshops to examine the transition from the traditional PSTN to new technologies.

The first workshop will focus on obstacles and opportunities the transition may create regarding public safety, availability and accessibility. This workshop will also evaluate “Non-carrier” stranded assets, such as alarm monitoring systems that would be left behind. This workshop will be held the morning of December 6, 2011.

The second workshop will examine economic, technological and policy issues that need to be addressed as consumers choose new technologies and services. This workshop will be held December 14.

Both workshops will be held in Washington DC as well as streamed live at http://www.fcc.gov/live

The Public notice is available here; http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1110/DA-11-1882A1.pdf

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