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Communications AT&T United States

FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital 218

An anonymous reader sends word that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has given the go-ahead for telecommunications companies to start experimenting with an IP-based telephone protocol. From the article: "The experiments approved by the FCC would not test the new technology - it is already being used - and would not determine law and policy regulating it, FCC staff said. The trials would seek to establish, among other things, how consumers welcome the change and how new technology performs in emergency situations, including in remote locations. 'What we're doing here is a big deal. This is an important moment,' FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. 'We today invite service providers to propose voluntary experiments for all-IP networks.' The move in part grants the application by AT&T to conduct IP transition tests as companies that offer landline phone services seek to ultimately replace their old copper wires with newer technology like fiber or wireless."
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FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:14AM (#46132141)

    My POTS line works great, works in power outages, and sounds way better than any other phone service I've had the misfortune of being exposed to. Of course the FCC wants to screw it up.

  • by LookIntoTheFuture ( 3480731 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:16AM (#46132153)
    More delays that make conversations frustrating! Woohoo!
  • The real motive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stox ( 131684 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:18AM (#46132157) Homepage

    AT&T and Verizon are pushing this. Why? Digital services aren't currently unregulated. Digital services are non-unionized. Digital services don't currently require universal service. Digital services are not required to be repaired in a timely basis. Unless the FCC declares digital services to be common carriers instead of information providers, we are going to get screwed and hard!

  • Great ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @01:21AM (#46132165) Homepage

    Just what the phone company needs to charge us even more money ... a new-fangled phone system.

    And, of course, while they're robbing us blind for something which should already be cheap and ubiquitous (but now newly gets to be the new expensive hotness), Big Brother should have an even easier time tracking everybody.

    Why the fuck does the future always have to seem like bleak-cyberpunk?

    Because there is no way we don't end up spending twice as much for essentially the same service.

    Which will be great for the big telcos (which are oddly now all the cable companies who keep merging so there's no actual competition). For the rest of us, not so much.

    And, if it's good for big business, you can bet the FCC will approve it -- because that's what they're paid to do.

    And, of course, the marketing weenies will call it "HD-Phone", or "Phone 3.0", or some equal bullshit.

  • Really, because my POTS line goes down every couple of months, sometimes mis-routes calls, only supports in-band DTMF signaling, and often has lower quality audio than my VoIP line.

    It's almost like the underlying signaling technology is not the sole determining factor in quality of service, and there are a number of ways to meet (or fail to meet) desired service goals. But I know that's a silly idea -- we know from history that older == more robust, just like older cars start better in cold weather and older flashlights need fewer batteries.

  • Re:Hate it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:28AM (#46132343) Journal
    They never said *when* you would hear the pin drop.
  • by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:35AM (#46132351)

    They DAMN well better make digital service providers common carriers and subject them to all the same regulations as PSTN.

    Otherwise, we are truly fucked.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:55AM (#46132421) Journal
    Well yeah. I didn't get into the game until 1984. People have a strange aversion to change wrt telephony. By 1989 I had gone cellular and had way too many conversations like "no, what is your HOME phone number?". "My cellular phone IS my home phone. When I am home that is how you call me. When I'm not home, you can still call me. Now can I rent the movie?"
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fdrebin ( 846000 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:54AM (#46132625)

    The trend away from analog for the last mile is astonishingly stupid, but I suppose inevitable. Why do I say that? What happens when your power goes out and you have Charter-crap or Comcast-shite or UVerse-dung ? You're screwed. Got POTS? You've still got a landline as long as you have at least 1 PODF (Plain Old Dumb Phone)

    I've had POTS service for going on 60 years with precisely 0 failures, ever. I also have and have had a variety of cell, wimax, voip & voip-like services, and even used to demo voip and billing thereof for the carriers. Terms such as "Reliable" and "Quality of Service" don't apply. (Well, 99.9% is great until there is an actual emergency)


    And for you young smart/dumb-asses who think I'm a cranky old fart (which I am) I also still make my living writing a variety of relatively smart software - networking, complex computation algorithms, 3D graphics, etc. So I ain't your grandma (though I might have curled her toes back in the day)
  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @12:52PM (#46134483)

    Just what we need, to let the emergency services (POTS-line based) have to rely on Cisco and its army of CCNIdiots for communications.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @12:58PM (#46134515)

    I live in Seattle, where even backed up rush-hour traffic can saturate the cellular network. We had a windstorm here a few years ago that made everything but a POTS line utterly unusable for three days. We also have earthquakes, floods, wildfires and several big honking volcanoes in the area. Cell phone might be more convenient, but if I want to add that little bit of extra security to my wife's life we'll keep the POTS line until they finally go away.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!