TMI and FCC IP TransitionFCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s most recent blog post says “it is time to act with dispatch” on IP transition issues. According to his blog, the FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Forcewill make a presentation at the FCC’s December 12, 2013, Open Meeting “with the expectation that the January meeting will include consideration of an Order for immediate action.”


Chairman Wheeler said the Order should include recommendations on how best to:

  • “obtain comment on and begin a diverse set of experiments” to observe the impact of such transitions on consumers and businesses (including consideration of AT&T’s proposed trials);
  • collect data to supplement the experiments, and
  • initiate a process for FCC consideration of “legal, policy, and technical issues that would not neatly fit within the experiments, with a game plan for efficiently managing the various adjudications and rulemakings that, together, will constitute our IP transition agenda.”


The Chairman said the Order should also include recommendations “on how best to speed the initiation of experiments and assess, monitor, measure, and analyze their outcomes” and that “[h]ow consumers are informed and protected should be a major component.” In addition, the Order should:

  • explain how the FCC can obtain “accurate and useful information about the technology transition from multiple resources that could include collaboration with other federal, state, and tribal agencies, public input through crowdsourcing, and leveraging outside expertise and advisors” and
  • set forth the “best process that the Commission can initiate so that, in parallel, it may decide the legal and policy questions raised by this network revolution.”

In a separate Statement, Commissioner Pai welcomed the Chairman’s announcement and noted that two years ago the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council  (under Chairman Wheeler’s leadership) recommended that the public switched telephone network sunset in 2018. However, “we cannot take this step nationally without adequate testing and preparation.” Commissioner Pai reiterated his call for the FCC to “commence an All-IP Pilot Program to provide us with real-world data from a diverse set of local experiments.” He said he is “optimistic that the item we will consider in January will pave the way for such geographic all-IP trials where carriers will be able to transition from TDM to IP in a discrete set of wire centers.”

Shortly after the Chairman’s blog was posted, the FCC’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force issued a Public Notice reiterating the ways in which interested parties can provide input into the work of the Task Force. Parties requesting meetings with the Task Force should submit requests to The request should specify the purpose of the meeting, the issues that the party intends to discuss (including identifying any pending proceedings that may be discussed), and the meeting attendees. The FCC treats the work of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force (including both oral meetings and written submissions) as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding, in which ex parte presentations to FCC decision-making personnel are permissible but subject to certain disclosure requirements in accordance with the FCC’s ex parte rules.

Also in response to the Chairman’s blog, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden issued a Press Release welcoming Chairman Wheeler’s call for IP-transition trials.  They agreed that it is important for regulation to “keep pace with advancements in technology” and noted that a recent subcommittee hearing discussed “the many innovations and possibilities that networks based on Internet Protocol will bring to American consumers and to our economy.”  They said that while there are still questions about the transition that need to be resolved, “we are confident that the commission will take those issues into account and we applaud Chairman Wheeler for adding this to the commission’s agenda.”


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