AT&T Wants to Kill The PSTN

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Tom Keating
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AT&T Wants to Kill The PSTN

TMCnet contributor Gary Kim has an excellent article about AT&T asking the Federal Communications Commission to create a timetable to shutdown the analog PSTN phone system in the United States. AT&T explains that maintaining two networks - IP and PSTN is retarding the deployment of the newer broadband IP network.

Ok, I'll grant you that one AT&T. It doesn't make much sense for you to have to maintain IP networks and PSTN networks - especially when voice competitors like Vonage and Packet8 leverage your IP infrastructure to offer broadband VoIP with no cost to them. Doesn't seem fair does it? It certainly would be nice to have a nationwide digital IP voice and data network and the death of analog. Kind of like how the FCC killed analog TV (after several postponements) and mandated digital TV this year.

But let me ask you this AT&T - how do you explain your less than stellar wireless 3G network?
Verizon has been razzing you about your poor 3G map footprint. Your response? Sue Verizon claiming the ads are unfair. As an AT&T customer myself (iPhone), I haven't been all that thrilled with the 3G coverage. Just recently, AT&T temporarily stopped selling iPhones in New York City "because New York is not ready for the iPhone."

So cry me a river that you don't want to maintain two networks and you're now whining to the FCC for a drop dead deadline to kill the PSTN so you can save a few bucks. Actually make it three networks if you count wireless. How bout build out your network to make it work in more places, make it more efficient using the latest technology, and then maybe all the customers that defected to Verizon & others might come back? Heck, if Verizon gets the iPhone next year I might just defect.

So quit your whining and offer reliable services that people want. Your customers will be more than happy to pay for it, giving you more profit and making your shareholders happy. Although I must agree with AT&T's argument to have a deadline for moving to an all IP network, I think their reasoning is based solely on greed. If AT&T had a history of being pro-consumer and offering great services, including investing in a better wireless network, maybe I'd be a little more sympathetic.


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