(MTA), an Alaska based independent telco, has announced they are beginning their transition to an IP based infrastructure. MTA is transitioning their circuit switched network to the distributed softswitch platform, which according to a MetaSwitch press release, enables the “delivery of both traditional and IP-based voice services.” MTA serves 40K subscribers in south central Alaska.

The move by MTA is representative of a growing trend among independents in the U.S. The transition to IP networks is well documented for tier 1 carriers like Verizon and AT&T. But that same transition is quite active among the smaller independents as well. Those independents are facing some of the same competitive pressures as the larger carriers, with cable MSOs increasingly offering competitive triple play services in all parts of the country. Independent ILECs also face that pesky trend that just doesn’t seem to go away – wireless substitution. Transitioning to IP based next generation networks is driven not only by efficiency gains and modernization, but also by the promise of revenue generating application development. The hope by all involved is that these new IP powered applications will create both additional value for landlines and additional revenue generating applications to relieve the potential of declining subscriber ARPU. It’s real early in this game, so there are a lot of fingers crossed, hoping that this promise will indeed come true. Will it?

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