Posted by: Hank Hultquist on April 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm
Virginia Postrel’s famous book contrasted two different attitudes toward the future. One, which she called “stasism,” is focused on controlling and directing forces of change based on preconceived notions of how the future should unfold or, worse yet, a nostalgia for an idealized past. The other, which she called “dynamism,” embraces the unplanned (indeed “unplannable”) future with hope, as well as humility regarding human power to control phenomena that arise from the countless, decentralized decisions of individuals.
One might ordinarily expect a regulatory agency like the FCC to fall into the camp of stasists almost by default. After all, their job is to “regulate,” which can be another way of saying “control.” But Postrel recognized the need for some minimal set of rules to protect an environment in which all those decentralized decisions can be made. And sometimes even a regulator can surprise you.
Today, the FCC adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking on modernizing its rules around the assignment of telephone numbers for IP-based service providers. The current rules, (like so many FCC rules), go back to the days when plain old telephone service was king and VoIP was a plaything for hobbyists. They do not permit IP-based providers like Vonage to obtain numbers directly from the numbering administrators. Instead, such providers must go to their TDM competitors in order to obtain telephone numbers.
Posted by: Frank Simone on December 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm
Today, USTelecom filed a petition requesting that the FCC declare that traditional phone companies no longer possess market power when providing switched access services, or more plainly, “plain old telephone service” (POTS), and therefore are no longer subject to dominant carrier regulation under the Commission’s rules. Given the many ways all of us communicate with each other these days this seems pretty obvious, but let’s review some of things that have brought us to this point.
The changes occurring in the communications landscape over the past several decades have forever changed the way we reach out and touch someone. For those of us with children, the changes are apparent every time we examine our “telephone” bill, and a quick review of mine over the last six months starkly illustrates the point. Each month on my mobile phone account, my unused AT&T “roll over” voice minutes grow as voice calling becomes a smaller and smaller portion of the communications options my family uses. Thousands of incoming and outgoing mobile text messaging details, most of which are associated with my children’s phones, fill the majority of the call details outlined on my bill. The ratio of text messages to voice minutes for my children is three to one. Interestingly, almost exactly the reverse is true for my wife and me. And what is missing from my home phone and mobile phone bills is as profound as what is included. Missing are the hundreds of voice minutes that have been replaced by email threads, tweets and status updates on social networking websites.
And despite the obvious shift observable in our children, you would be wrong to think the communications shift is limited to those born after AT&T was split into “Baby Bells” in 1984. The very first “baby boomers,” born in 1946, are also switching from landlines to new technologies. Fifty-three percent of Americans aged 65 and over use the Internet and email, and 31% of Americans aged 55 to 64 use smartphones.
Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on February 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm
The following statement may be attributed to Bob Quinn, AT&T Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory and Chief Privacy Officer:
“While we will need to review the FCC’s order, we are pleased that the Commission was willing to work with us to focus on rules that give the agency visibility into outages that affect 911 service for Voice over IP subscribers. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC to ensure that its regulations are narrowly tailored to achieve their stated goal of protecting consumers.”