According to history books, the first words uttered on a telephone were, "Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you," by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876. That successful experiment was responsible for making the world seem much smaller, and trying to conceive the world we live in now without the telephone seems almost impossible. One-hundred and thirty-eight years later, the FCC is in the process of making one of the largest technological transformations that has taken place in the U.S., ending the analog telephone network.
When a technology that has been around since the Industrial Revolution (News - Alert), and has played a critical role in the growth of the country, faces certain doom, shutting it down and moving to the next platform will be met by opposition—even though it is no longer the best solution available in the marketplace.
The “plain old telephone system” (POTS) and the regulations that have been put in place to protect the technology are deeply ingrained in city, state and federal laws. The industries that depend on this technology will do their best to keep analog networks on life support for as long as possible, by taking advantage of the antiquated rules and regulations designed to protect the Bell System.
The introduction of the Internet has made communication possible across many different mediums and platforms, thus eliminating the need of the inflexible and limited options analog provides. Today consumers can access services over cable, cellular, copper, fiber and satellite networks at better price points and with more options than ever before.
The only way that analog network can justify its existence is because of the political clout it enjoys. Even the FCC (News - Alert) has taken steps to retiring the rules overseeing this platform as well as the network itself. The FCC is in the process of trying to find a solution that can minimize the costs for companies that still rely on analog networks as it looks for the best method for retirement.
There is no question the IP network is the future, but there are still consumers around the country that still rely on the analog network. This is costing operators as much as 50 percent of their total expenses for less than 20 percent of their customer base. Policymakers at all levels have to realize delaying the adoption of full IP network only retards the digital growth that is taking place around the world.
According to the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (News - Alert), this network transition is "the fourth network revolution," and if it so valued by the Chairman, the old technology should be put to pasture ASAP so we can move forward.