Let's face it; IP phones are really cool.  Using the infrastructure of the internet to make calls that are cheap--awesome.  Being able to integrate phones with existing computer networks for increased flexibility and productivity--awesome.  The ability to video-conference over a phone--it's like we're living in the future!  And according to one telecom giant, it's a future with no place for systems of the past.

Right now, "land lines" are connected by a PSTN, or a "public switched telephone network."  And the progenitor of phone networks, AT&T, in a filing made with the Federal Communications Commission on November 7, 2012, asked the regulatory agency to plan for the retirement of the PTSN and to transition to the all-IP telco. 

Of course, the signs of the end of the PSTN have been visible for some time.  The FCC itself noted that the death of this traditional network could come as soon as 2018.  What's more, executives with AT&T have said that the technology is outmoded, and in many cases replacement parts aren't being manufactured anymore.  As reported on Arstechnica.com, Hank Hultquist, VP of AT&T's federal regulatory commission, said:

"It's become more and more difficult to find spare parts for it.  And it's become more and more difficult to find trained technicians and engineers to work on it."

This is rather exciting news, as this may also mean a change in how the government regulates telephone communications as well.  FCC regulations, according to AT&T's petition, are "monopoly-era regulatory obligations."  As older folks may well know, AT&T was once the only game in town. ("Yah, we'll be there to install your phone between 8 a.m. and, um, sometime next May.  Please try to be at home for the service guy."  Indeed, there was a time when you had to have a guy come into your house to install a phone!)  So the FCC's neccessity and mission was quite clear.  But AT&T argues that this "public-utility style regulation" will become obsolete considering the vast and competitve marketplace that is the Internet.

Experts also note that this could be a big boost for net neutrality, encouraging the FCC to take an officially neutral stance.  And perhaps as a show of "neutral faith" (as it were), AT&T's petition states that the upcoming trial areas for switching to all-IP should be open to all businesses, not just theirs.

Wow, exciting!  This may mean that videophones are just around the corner!  I guess that means we'll have to start thinking about what we're wearing when we answer the home phone, huh?

Why not get a head start on the future of telephones?  For the best in IP and VoIP phones with a personal touch, contact us.

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