It is clear from just a quick glance at exhibits set to open tomorrow at the 2013CES that voice is but one of a multitude of network applications, USTelecom President Walter McCormick told a CES panel. This is very different from the state of the industry just 15 years ago when consumers subscribed to a local and long- distance service from a local phone company.
"There is a lot happening in this space, both in terms of significant ongoing private industry investment, and complex regulatory issues that will be discussed at the Federal Communications Commissions this year," McCormick said. The key to policy priorities this year will be moving forward with the IP transition, he said, giving the FCC a salute for setting up a technology transitions task force.
"There is competition for voice services coming from wireless, satellite and other services which we never envisioned in the 1990s," said Nicholas Degani, legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai.
However, the regulation that we have on the books only apply to one small and shrinking part of marketplace, he said. It will be important to look "holistically at what we need going forward," he said, adding that the commission's task force will be a key tool to focus on these issues.
One example of the quickly changing marketplace is the app development summit that AT&T held at CES to help develop the end-to-end network, said AT&T Vice President Jeff Brueggeman. "We're catching up to what our consumers already know," he said. Most customers are using their smartphones as their main form of communication, so they want the latest technologies on their phones.
Brueggeman stressed the need to update the regulatory framework. "We are regulating now in silos but in the IP world, everything becomes an application."