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Commissioner Pai Statement on the IP Transition Presentation

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Released: June 13, 2014
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STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON THE IP TRANSITION PRESENTATION

Over a year ago, I proposed that the FCC move ahead with an All-IP Pilot Program.1 My

rationale was simple: American consumers are already driving the transition away from the monopoly-

dominated copper networks of the past and toward the competitive IP networks of the future. If we want

to promote the deployment of infrastructure—if we want more consumers to benefit from advanced

technologies—we must change our rules accordingly. And controlled experiments could inform how we

should change them.

This past January, the Commission decided on a unanimous, bipartisan basis to expedite the IP

Transition by moving forward with an All-IP Pilot Program. I’m grateful that we decided—together—to

allow all stakeholders to suggest how to “resolv[e] the operational challenges that result from

transitioning to new technology and that may impact users.”2

In turn, I am glad that AT&T has volunteered to participate with its proposals for Carbon Hill,

Alabama, and West Delray Beach, Florida. Given that no major carrier has ever transitioned a wire center

to all-IP, it’s no surprise that these trials are still in the early stages. As we’ve heard, there remain

operational challenges to be resolved. I look forward to working with my colleagues, outside parties, and

the public to resolve them in a fact-based, forward-looking manner.

One last thing. Some have suggested that participating in a service-based trial is now the only

means by which carriers can move forward with the IP Transition—for example, that we silently

suspended our copper retirement rules in January. Not so. To the contrary, we all agreed then that “[n]o

provider will be forced to participate in an experiment,”3 and we emphasized that our framework for

service-based trials did not alter preexisting law.4 As I said at the start, consumers are increasingly

embracing the IP Transition. It would be a shame if our efforts to accelerate that transition were twisted

into an excuse to delay it further.

1 Remarks of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, “Two Paths to the Internet Protocol Transition” (Mar. 7, 2013), available

at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-319334A1.pdf.

2 Technology Transitions; AT&T Petition to Launch a Proceeding Concerning the TDM-to-IP Transition; Connect

America Fund; Structure and Practices of the Video Relay Service Program; Telecommunications Relay Services

and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities; Numbering Policies for

Modern Communications, GN Docket Nos. 13-5, 12-353, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 13-97, CG Docket Nos. 10-51,

03-123, Order, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, Order and Further

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Proposal for Ongoing Data Initiative, 29 FCC Rcd 1433, para. 25 (2014).

3 Id. at para. 31.

4 Id. at para. 28 (“The conditions and presumptions we set forth below shall not have specific binding legal or policy

effect outside the context of the experiments except insofar as the Commission subsequently determines

otherwise.”).

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