Despite many recent changes in the communications industry, countless Americans still rely on the traditional circuit-switched telecommunications network. As the economic model that supports this legacy network continues to erode, stakeholders from across the communications landscape are weighing in on how to handle the switch from traditional telephone transmission to modern, cost efficient Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications.
The IP transition has recently become a point of focus and contention at the FCC and on Capitol Hill. Proponents of the transition say that the traditional circuit-switched networks no longer meet the needs of the American consumer. Many telecommunications companies have formally petitioned the federal government for relief from the regulatory obligations that apply to carriers as they transition to purely IP networks. On the other side, public interest and consumer advocates worry that the IP transition would limit the FCC's ability to regulate providers.
On February 6th, National Journal hosted a Policy Summit featuring leading industry insiders, consumer and regulatory experts, and other key opinion leaders who explored the state of American communications in the 21st century.