The FCC has released an Order inviting carriers to propose broadband experiments to evaluate the impact of the transition of communications networks from plain old telephone service delivered over copper lines to a feature-rich voice service using Internet Protocols, delivered over wireless, coaxial cable and fiber networks. The trials will offer Universal Service funding to assist carriers in conducting these experiments. The trials will gather information in two main areas: (1) “service-based experiments” (at a carrier’s own expense) to test real-world applications of planned changes in technology that are likely to have tangible effects on consumers; and (2) “targeted experiments” (funded with Universal Service funds) to explore the impact of technology transitions in rural or remote areas of the country. The FCC has established a deadline of March 7th for nonbinding “expressions of interest” from carriers interested in participating in a targeted experiment. Also included with the FCC order is a request for comments on a variety of issues related to the best way to implement these experiments. LNGS is following this new FCC proposal closely as it is likely to have a significant impact on both the transition to IP networks and how Universal Service funds are distributed in the future.
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