The U.S. is in the midst of a great transformation in the telecommunications industry.
More than 100 years ago, American starting stringing the copper wires that would unite the country.
But over the last decade, the next leap forward is occurring as broadband connectivity has provided the means necessary to deliver phone service over Internet Protocol (IP).
Despite the promise of this faster and more efficient technology, some service providers are required to maintain an antiquated copper network.
This means that they must continue to invest substantial amounts of capital on voice-centric equipment and services instead of investing into the high-speed advanced broadband services that consumers demand.
Ironically, broadband services can handle all of the voice services provided by the old legacy network, plus much more — high speed data services, video programming, applications and access to cloud computing services.
But, moving to an advanced communications system will require the concurrence of those who current regulate the copper network.
Enter Tom Wheeler, President Obama’s nominee to be the new Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and former head of both the wireless (CTIA) and cable (NCTA) trade associations.
Wheeler recently took the stage at the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on his nomination to speak about the transformation to an all-IP world.
Those seeking a faster future based on Internet Protocol (IP) devices should be heartened by his testimony.
Wheeler has an opportunity to make a major pro-consumer step, and his background indicates that he has the conviction to succeed.
The consumer-led transition to advanced broadband networks will bring substantial benefits to all.
For service providers, redeploying investment from legacy copper networks to all broadband networks will mean faster speeds, advanced services and increased innovation by applications providers.