One of the next big frontiers of simultaneous cooperation and competition in internet infrastructure looks like it will be interconnection agreements that will be necessary to turn off the PSTN. Yesterday, the nations's biggest ILEC and one of its larger privately held CLECs managed to actually get it done.
AT&T and TelePacific said they have signed multiple commercial IP migration agreements. AT&T got clearance earlier this year to take the next step in the TDM-to-IP transition, with tests going on in the southeast for an all IP infrastructure. But a major step along the way is to upgrade all those wholesale agreements out there they have with CLECs and such nationwide to meet the needs of a TDM-free world.
At this point, nearly everyone would rather sell Ethernet and IP-based services rather than the legacy stuff. But lots of the voice-based stuff that starts on IP has still been using the TDM infrastructure even when both endpoints are IP-enabled. More deals like this will be good for all concerned, so long as the balance of power enables them to be mutually beneficial. Of course, the TDM stuff will be with us for a long while yet.
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