AT&T has asked the FCC to set a firm deadline for a complete move to an all IP network and an end to the PSTN, in a similar fashion to where television broadcasters were mandated to switch from analog to digital transmissions. AT&T said in its response to the FCC that "with each passing day, more and more communications services migrate to broadband and IP-based services, leaving the public switched telephone network ("PSTN") and plain-old telephone service ("POTS") as relics of a by-gone era." “Congress' goal of universal access to broadband will not be met in a timely or efficient manner if providers are forced to continue to invest in and to maintain two networks,” AT&T said in the filing. In that response AT&T also stated "It makes no sense to require service providers to operate and maintain two distinct networks when technology and consumer preferences have made one of them increasingly obsolete."
AT&T's response to the FCC is affirmation that VoIP has matured into the mainstream, and this turn of events is a further endorsement of the superior technology, cost effectiveness and efficiency that an all IP network has to offer. By and large VoIP to date has merely tried to emulate the PSTN, but as we start to see deployments and applications that more fully leverage this technology, such as HD Voice and presence, VoIP will become even more compelling and the PSTN more redundant and obsolete.
According to the IBISWorld report "in the short period [from 2002 when VoIP emerged] to 2009, revenue growth accumulated to an astronomical 179035.8%." In this report George Van Horn, senior analyst with IBISWorld, stated “VoIP has skyrocketed from non-existent to a massive application targeting telecom carrier's voice revenues.”
The move to an all IP communications network has always been a question of “when” and not “if,” and it is looking like “when” is happening sooner than later. It will be great when we have a single network upon which to direct our focus allowing us to realize the full and true potential of VoIP.