AT&T proposes two sites for long-term IP Transition tests

AT&T filed a proposal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct IP Transition trials at two Southern locations: one in rural Carbon Hill, Alabama and the other in suburban West Delray Beach, Florida.

AT&T explains that it chose those two wire centers to gain insights into “some of the more difficult issues that likely will be presented” by the sunset of the circuit-switched network. Carbon Hill AL is a rural, high poverty area with 4,300 living units. West Delray Beach is a suburban area of 50,000 living units with a large elderly population. Rural, low-income, and elderly populations are more likely to be on the wrong side of the digital divide.

AT&T proposes to implement its trials in stages. In the first phase, participation will be voluntary. AT&T will encourage residents and businesses to switch from circuit-switched to IP-based services. AT&T will offer residential customers the opportunity to switch to its high-speed wireline U-Verse voice, broadband, and (in some areas) video service, or to AT&T Mobility's Wireless Home Phone and Wireless Home Phone and Internet with 4G LTE broadband.

AT&T recognizes that its fixed wireless Home Phone service currently does not provide data connectivity, is not compatible with health and alarm monitoring, and does not provide 911 exact location information. The company states that it expects to resolve all these issues by mid-2015 and will grandfather all circuit-switched customers until then.

Upon completion of Phase 1, AT&T will seek approval from the FCC to switch all customers in the trial locations to IP-based services.

According to AT&T, “If approved by the FCC, the trials will run over the next few years. These trials will provide information about the customer experience in transitioning to the faster, more advanced network that consumers and businesses are demanding.”

Public comment on the AT&T proposed trials is due March 31 with reply comments due April 10.

AT&T Proposal for Wire Center Trials (FCC filing, Feb. 27, 2014)

Wire Center Trial Operating Plan (FCC filing, Feb. 27, 2014)

Testing the Next Generation of IP Networks (AT&T news release, Feb. 28, 2014)

Commission seeks comment on AT&T’s proposal for service-based technology transitions experiments (FCC public notice, Feb. 28, 2014)