A study released yesterday from the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) provides strong evidence for the need to get moving on a TDM-to-IP transition. Only 5% of U.S. households rely exclusively on traditional voice service for communications, according to the study conducted by Dr. Anna Maria Kovacs, visiting senior policy scholar for Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy.
Others use traditional voice plus wireless, only wireless, VOIP only or VOIP plus wireless.
The study also found, however, that more than half of telcos’ capital invested in the last six years was devoted to the traditional POTS network, while less than half was spent on deploying more modern technology.
“Every dollar supporting [legacy] networks is a dollar not supporting . . . networks that [consumers] prefer,” said Rick Boucher, IIA honorary chairman and former Congressman on a conference call with reporters to announce the study results.
The study also found that circuit-switched traffic is now less than 1% of traffic on telco networks Boucher noted, however, that regulatory requirements prevent telcos from shifting voice traffic to their IP network infrastructure.
“No one is proposing a flash cut,” said Boucher. “This is a transition.”
Boucher’s advice? “The FCC should conduct a series of trials so the opportunity can be created to find out what’s working and solutions can be put in place,” he said.
Also on today’s call, Kovacs argued mobile broadband often can be a suitable alternative to wired broadband. She noted, for example, that Netflix streaming video data rates are virtually the same whether the data is sent over a mobile broadband connection or over Google’s gigabit fiber network because streaming rates are determined by factors outside the access network.
But although Kovacs seemed to be making the case for using wireless in the TDM-to-IP transition, Boucher said the goal of the proposed trial aimed to test IP, which “can be any platform.”
Kovacs noted that trials should not be irreversible. She advocated trials in “controlled areas where [we] can retreat to the old technologies” if needed.
IIA members include telcos, telecom suppliers and other organizations.