In an effort to speed up the adoption of IP-based voice services (like SIP trunks and VoIP), AT&T has stopped compensating Agents for TDM. No more POTS lines or PRI's, folks.
It's funny that this happens now because I have been trying to get an order in for 3 weeks for a PRI in rural Texas. It only took 3 weeks for SBC's division of AT&T to say, "We can't port those numbers. Oh, and we aren't paying you for this either."
VZ already has TDM off the commission schedule. In Greater Tampa Bay, agents can sell TerraNova Telecom, which is selling inexpensive POTS lines and even ISDN. In SBC land, Agents will need to find a regional CLEC.
Why do you need PRI's? Reliability for healthcare facilities like hospitals, who don't want SIP yet. POTS lines are still required in some states by law for elevators and other essential spaces.
Also, for all the bluster, outgoing faxes work better on TDM than IP. Reliable, dependable TDM. In many ways, the dream of Fax over IP and HD Voice requires inter-connections that are still not in place yet.
Why take away TDM? Because AT&T "hopes to be operating an all-wireless, all-IP, all-cloud AT&T network by 2020." AT&T executives are urging faster FCC review of their plan to retire wired networks. Albeit the government shutdown (which distracted me for a couple of hours yesterday) has delayed it even further.
Verizon's own plans for copper replacement in NY and NJ have been stalemated by opposition. We still have 7 more years yet.
I still think that the RBOC's should just separate out the copper network. There are still many uses for copper - and it is already in the ground.