Sunday, August 9, 2015

FCC Rule Requires Carriers to Notify of Copper Retirement

The FCC adopted a new rule that requires providers to directly notify retail customers – including consumers and businesses – of plans to retire copper networks at least three months in
advance. The new rules increase the notice period for interconnecting carriers from three months to at least six months. This requirement covers all parts of the copper network essential for providing service.

Carriers retain the flexibility to retire their copper networks in favor of fiber without prior FCC approval – as long as no service is discontinued, reduced, or impaired.

The FCC tentatively concludes that both consumers and industry would be served by clarifying these standards, and seeks comment on criteria, which include:

  • Support for 911 services and call centers 
  • Network capacity and reliability 
  • Quality of both voice service and Internet access 
  • Interoperability with devices and services, such as alarm services and medical monitoring 
  • Access for people with disabilities, including compatibility with assistive technologies 
  • Network security in any IP-supported network that is comparable to the legacy network 
  • Coverage throughout the service area, either by the substitute network or via service from other provider

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the "updates to our copper retirement process and Section 214 discontinuance process will accelerate and facilitate the transition from copper-based, analog services to more efficient fiber- and IP-based networks and services. It is a move from legacy services, to the innovative services of the future."