The FCC is asking for comment on transitioning the circuit-switched phone system – the public switched telephone network (PSTN) – to all IP.

The comments would be used to develop an official notice of inquiry (NOI) that in turn could lead to official government policy under the authority of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, aka the broadband stimulus bill).

The FCC’s request reads: “In the spirit of understanding the scope and breadth of the policy issues associated with this transition, we seek public comment to identify the relevant policy questions that an NOI on this topic should raise in order to assist the Commission in considering how best to monitor and plan for this transition. In identifying the appropriate areas of inquiry, we seek to understand which policies and regulatory structures may facilitate, and which may hinder, the efficient migration to an all IP world.

“In addition, we seek to identify and understand what aspects of traditional policy frameworks are important to consider, address, and possibly modify in an effort to protect the public interest in an all-IP world. For example, one line of questioning that a notice of inquiry may pursue is how to continue ensuring appropriate protections for, and assistance to, people with disabilities in the transition to an IP-based communications world. Another could focus on the role of carrier of last resort obligations. In this public notice, we seek comment on what policy areas should be understood in considering how best to prepare for the transition from the circuit-switched to the IP-based communications world.”

Comments can be filed through the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) filing interface.

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