FCC sets proceeding on rules

The FCC has responded to petitions from AT&T and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association on the deregulation of traditional wireline phone services and universal service rules.

AT&T has asked the FCC to "consider conducting, for select wire centers chosen by incumbent local exchange carriers ("ILECs") that elect to participate, trial runs of the transition to next-generation services, including the retirement of time-division multiplexed ("TDM") facilities and offerings and their replacement with IP-based alternatives."

Specifically, the company is asking that the FCC test new rules that would apply to all VoIP providers. The new regime would replace today's rules that apply only to incumbent local exchange companies, placing regulatory burdens on these carriers at the same time that these companies have lost more than 50 percent of their customers.

The FCC responded to AT&T's and NTCA's petitions by establishing a pleading cycle. Comments are due January 28, 2013 and replies a month later on February 25.

Petition to launch a proceeding concerning the TDM-To-IP transition (AT&T filing, Dec. 7, 2012)

Pleading cycle established on AT&T and NTCA petitions
(FCC, Dec. 14, 2012)