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FCC Chairman Suggests Overhaul for Phone Internet System

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 15 comments

The FCC will be gearing up to upgrade the U.S.’s telephone backbone soon. The current chairman of the organization announced that it will begin a new set of experiments in 2014 to prep phone lines with bigger networks that use IP instead of the current analog switchboard system.

In a blog post, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote, "This is what I call the Fourth Network Revolution… History has shown that new networks catalyze innovation, investment, ideas and ingenuity. Their spillover effects can transform society -- think of the creation of industrial organizations and the standardized time zones that followed in the wake of the railroad and telegraph."

It's a big step, and the full roll-out could take several years, but by the time it's all said and done, everyone in the U.S. will benefit from better call quality and more reliability.

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  • 4 Hide
    clonazepam , November 27, 2013 5:50 PM
    NSA asked for a lil assist from the FCC... I bet the wire-tapping infrastructure streamlines quite nicely getting away from analog.
  • 6 Hide
    stevejnb , November 27, 2013 5:54 PM
    Quote:
    NSA asked for a lil assist from the FCC... I bet the wire-tapping infrastructure streamlines quite nicely getting away from analog.


    ... yeah, either that, or "the greatest nation in the world" has an internet infrastructure that some third world countries chuckle at, so someone figures something should be done about it.
  • 0 Hide
    brandonjclark , November 27, 2013 5:56 PM
    Oh, it will have built-in access. Almost time to leave this place.
  • 3 Hide
    InvalidError , November 27, 2013 6:06 PM
    "instead of the analog switchboard system"

    The truly analog POTS has been practically dead for decades already with most phone lines terminating into digital switch boards... the DMS100 for example was launched in 1979. Those may not be IP but they are still very much digital.
  • 2 Hide
    InvalidError , November 27, 2013 6:13 PM
    Quote:
    NSA asked for a lil assist from the FCC... I bet the wire-tapping infrastructure streamlines quite nicely getting away from analog.

    Pretty much the whole phone system save the copper line between your home and the CO is already digital: unless you live in the middle of nowhere, your phone line likely terminates into something equivalent to a DMS100 phone line card where your phone line gets sampled at 8kHz 12bits, compressed to 8bits, packed into framing of some sort such as ATM and shipped out to the next switch along your call's virtual channel.
  • 0 Hide
    clonazepam , November 27, 2013 6:17 PM
    You killed my fantasy but thanks for the schooling. I sold my soul to Comcast and am on their voip service.
  • 4 Hide
    John Bauer , November 27, 2013 8:03 PM
    What about NORMAL Internet? When will the Internet infrastructure of the US be improved?
  • 0 Hide
    Darkk , November 27, 2013 8:12 PM
    Quote:

    "What about NORMAL Internet? When will the Internet infrastructure of the US be improved?"

    I agree with that statement. Kinda backwards of what they are doing.
  • 4 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 27, 2013 8:51 PM
    Once again Tom's is out of date and misquotes, gotta love the people that don't read.

    Quote:
    Communications protocols are moving from circuit-switched Time-division Multiplexing (or TDM) to IP.


    Sounds like the FCC knows what they're talking about. More accurately they know that the system is dated and they want to update the standards. But instead of leaving it to the likes of AT&T and Verizon who's goal is to screw everyone over they want reliable consistent service. They're doing an RFC period so that they can hammer everything out.
  • 3 Hide
    bochica , November 27, 2013 9:09 PM
    Quote:
    What about NORMAL Internet? When will the Internet infrastructure of the US be improved?


    THIS!

    The joke a few friends and I have of the LTE acronym is it means "Lying To Everyone," because the US will not be able to achieve actual 4G speeds with its current infrastructure (there are 4G standards that double LTE, and even higher standards being deployed outside of the US). The rest of the world is running at high Fiber speeds than we have here, not to mention it is much more accessible. There are areas in this country that just received Cable internet in the past 3 years. Can you believe that? Still being on DSL while "bigger" parts of the country are on speeds 20x of what is offered in your area, at about the same cost (or at least not too much higher).

    Google tried to help the movement when they initiated their Fiber program. They offered people, whether they were selected or not, to email their state representatives to pass a bill in office, require each future road construction to put in conduits for Fiber Optic Internet/Phone lines. This would help reduce the costs of installation when providers would begin to use the lines.

    I have not even heard of that bill being passed since then. The bill was called "Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2009" which did not pass in 2009. It was reintroduced in 2011, and Congress still did not do anything with it. The US needs to wake up and catch up with the rest of the world in this sector of technology.

  • 0 Hide
    falchard , November 27, 2013 10:22 PM
    OMG FCC is actually doing something they are tasked with. The FCC originally had one task. To manage over the air frequencies in order to prevent interference. They are later tasked with maintaining communication lines in the US which also branches into the internet backbone.
    This is the first time I have heard the FCC actually doing one of its 2 jobs it was given.
  • -4 Hide
    velocityg4 , November 28, 2013 5:43 AM
    Why in the heck do tax dollars need to be wasted on this? The phone system does not need to be updated. Just leave what is around in place and slowly decay. Everyone is switching to cell phones and those wanting landlines are switching to internet phones.

    Instead take that money going towards updating and maintaining the phone system to updating the country to fiber optics. Fiber Optics like Google is doing not that crap to curb like AT&T.
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , November 29, 2013 10:59 AM
    Sounds like a lousy idea to me. Sure, the big communications providers can save money by having one infrastructure for telecommunications and Internet service, but I sincerely doubt that this will benefit the customer. If my phone service were as reliable as my internet service, I would be in trouble. POTS was great. Self-powered so you still have phone service if the power went out. Not on the same network as everything else in the world, so a teenager in Trashcanistan can't hack my phone conversations.

    While my cynical take was that this is to save money for service providers, making life easy for the NSA, including our buddy who works there, might be a good reason. The one thing that I refuse to believe is that it will benefit the consumer.
  • 0 Hide
    catfishtx , December 2, 2013 8:25 AM
    This may come as a shock to some, but there are still millions of people and companies still using POTS systems. For most, its the only communication service offered to them. Trust me, they would love fiber, cable modems, even 256Kbps DSL. Except no one offers it where they live and work. And these areas generally have poor cell service also. There are lots of good things to living in the country but communications is not one of them.
  • 0 Hide
    igot1forya , December 2, 2013 9:48 PM
    My home in Rural Illinois isn't even equipped with POTS service nor does it have reliable Cell service. My internet is provided (until recently, via a moto canopy wireless relay from a central tower outside of town - a local coop got funding to run fiber) which was in its self a huge upgrade from the only other option, satellite. But still, phones are not really an option at the house except via VoIP.