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Comptel: IIA IP Report Got It Wrong

Comptel, which represents carriers competing with incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs), took issue with a paper backed by those incumbents that pushed for a full IP transition.

The report, penned by analyst Anna-Maria Kovacks, was released by the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a broadband adoption and deployment advocacy group whose 175 members include AT&T and fiber-maker Corning. It found a "plethora of choices" for voice, video and data, pointed out that 99% of communications traffic is now IP-delivered, and pushed for moving swiftly to decommission traditional phone lines and move to an all-IP world (

In countering that assessment, Comptel said the paper got at least five things wrong. The group said it, too, was looking for a successful IP transition, but one where competition and consumers were protected.

Comptel says that among the things the paper got wrong were that incumbents were continuing to invest in legacy facilities, that incumbents were forced to waste capital and operating funds on legacy networks by monopoly era regs, that almost all traffic is IP (Comptel calls that "definitional gamesmanship'), that the Telecom Act of 1996 has failed, and that IIA "ignores" the financial benefit of depreciating plant.

The FCC is currently pondering a proposal by AT&T, an IIA member, to conduct geographic tests of the switch to IP delivery and the retirement of traditional line.