In 2014, the FCC passed a recommendation for the telecom industry to transition to an all-IP network by 2020. This was meant as a way to encourage legacy carriers to move away from traditional TDM switches and toward an entirely internet-based network. At first, the industry balked at the suggestion. Most major carriers simply refused to comply. Yet the industry as a whole was arguably already on the path to all-IP, all of which was spearheaded by VoIP providers.
Obstacles to the Transition to all-IP
Although an all-IP transition is a step into the future of telecom, there were a few bumps in the road as far as upholding some of the FCC’s requirements from telecom carriers to maintain a stable network. Chief among concerns were emergency services, such as 911, which had relied on wires-in-the-ground networks to work properly. In an IP environment, there is more room for such services to be interrupted.
Hence, the FCC passed several reports and orders in 2015 to ensure emergency services would not be affected. Among the solutions is the requirement to demonstrate a backup system to take and make calls via VoIP in case of a disaster, as well as parameters for setting up the systems to avoid a myriad of other potential service interruptions.
What the all-IP Transition Means for Your Business
Traditional wire-in-the-ground networks were for years the gold standard of call stability and quality. Over time, however, other methods of communication rose up to rival legacy networks. Cell phones now have rivaling call quality and stability as landlines, and VoIP phones are nearly there as well. What the all-IP transition recommendation from the FCC has done is created an environment in which all carriers know that one day VoIP will be the only landline service available, and it has sparked drastic improvements in VoIP networks as compared to the previous decade.
As a business owner, your concern is in call quality and stability. What the all-IP transition is ultimately doing is making your VoIP lines more stable and more reliable than ever before. Additionally, the cost of VoIP is much lower than legacy networks because there is no need to develop separate infrastructure to support it, which traditionally has been one of the major factors that drove up telecom costs.
The Timeline of the all-IP Transition
The FCC recommended that the all-IP transition conclude by 2020. However, legacy carriers have voiced to the FCC through a variety of committees that they simply cannot make the transition in such a short time. The transition will therefore likely not happen until the mid-2020’s. One thing that may force legacy carriers to act more quickly is the fact that demand for VoIP products is on the rise among consumers. Demand, it seems, may be what motivates the legacy carriers to action.
Further spurring legacy carriers to act more quickly is steadily increasing competition from VoIP providers who now have direct numbering access. Where legacy carriers used to have the ability to throttle their competition in number porting, they now must contend with a growing number of rivals. To learn more about direct numbering access for VoIP providers, read our article on local number porting.
How Will This Affect Your Business?
As a business owner, the all IP-transition will be highly beneficial to you. Increased competition will mean lower costs, better network stability, and in the future more comprehensive product offerings.