If you’re one of the millions of companies using copper-based communication services (also known as T1 lines) for voice and data, you might be concerned about how the FCC’s deregulation order will affect your business. Perhaps the biggest concern is that costs are expected to skyrocket, with rate increases expected as early as July 2022.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s deregulation order means that incumbent telecom providers can increase the pricing of certain wholesale services they offer over copper wires. In addition, the incumbent telecom providers are assumed to eventually phase out legacy copper-based services altogether in favor of next-generation solutions.
Since the rates of regulated legacy services are no longer mandated by the FCC, you can expect to see multiple significant rate increases for copper-based T1 lines in the U.S. in the coming years.
End of an era
A T1 line is a twisted copper wire that transfers voice and data via digital signals from one location to another. The first copper-based network was rolled out in 1933 by AT&T, which was operating as a monopoly under the direction of the U.S. government to connect homes and businesses across the country.
T1 lines leverage copper-based wiring and can transport data as well as voice, but copper-based networks were never designed for modern-day business communication demands, such as video conferencing.
That’s why the FCC is using its ruling to incentivize telecommunication carriers to invest in next-generation fiber networks, broadband and wireless technologies, which offer greater bandwidth and a wider range of communication options.
While the FCC isn’t mandating the retirement of T1 lines, the deregulation of pricing coupled with incumbent telecom providers’ plans to retire their copper networks over time means that T1 lines will eventually be phased out in favor of next-generation fiber-based services.
What the FCC order means for you
While your T1 lines won’t disappear all at once, you can expect rates to go up. Here’s why:
Incumbent telecom carriers provide wholesale access over their copper networks to telecommunication service providers, such as Allstream, which in turn use them for the provisioning of a variety of communication services.
Since incumbent telecom providers have already increased their rates for certain services—with rates of other services expected to increase in the coming months and years—this means that telecommunication service providers are, and will continue to be, subject to increasing costs, which they will have to pass through to customers.
Ushering in a new era
T1 lines will be phased out over the next few years, and while they won’t disappear overnight, now is the time to start looking for alternatives. While you’ll avoid significant price increases for your T1 lines, you’ll also have the opportunity to modernize your data and voice services.
There are various next-generation alternatives to services provided over T1 lines, including high-speed internet access, VoIP services and cloud-based telephony platforms, that can support remote and hybrid workforces. Your employees will have access to flexible, secure, reliable communication services anytime, from anywhere in the world.
To learn more about how Allstream is supporting our customers through this transition, click here.