Thursday, January 30, 2014

Telecom Industry is Backwards Looking: Government Makes it So

Mobile networks have experienced four complete transitions of network technology in a few decades, doing so about once every 10 years.

The fixed network has been through a couple of network eras, without completely revamping the whole platform.

Looking at switching, it moved from simple crossbar switches to analog electronic switches to digital switches. In access technology, it has begun to move from copper wires to optical fiber. 

The biggest single transition, though, is the move from time division multiplexing to Internet Protocol, a subject the Federal Communications Commission will address at its Jan. 30, 2014 meeting, taking up an AT&T request to run trials related to the transition from TDM to IP.

Many of the issues are largely "social" rather than "technical" in nature, relating to how universal service and consumer protections are maintained. Emergency calling and preservation of competition likewise will have to be addressed, though none of those issues is fundamentally a technology issue.

It is fair enough to criticize large telcos for not moving fast enough. Sometimes they can't help it. The government makes them move slow.

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