TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Verizon Takes Next Big Step Toward VoIP

Verizon Takes Next Big Step Toward VoIP

Lisa Minter (
Fri, 24 Dec 2004 11:28:13 -0500

Posted on: Friday, 24 December 2004, 03:01 CST
Verizon Takes Next Big Step Toward VoIP

Best known locally for its spring tulip festival, the small northwest
Washington city of Mount Vernon now has a new claim to fame: the first
central office in Verizon's network to be converted from old-fashioned
circuit switching to cutting-edge packet telephony

The setup within the Skagit Valley facility doesn't look much
different than it did before the conversion, part of a $1 billion-
plus nationwide project that Verizon estimates will take five or six
years to complete. The central piece of new equipment, a Nortel
softswitch outfitted with add-ons to support legacy TDM
interconnections, takes up about as much space as the 7-foot-high,
19-inch-wide Class 5 circuit switch it replaced. The most visible
change is that the new gear flashes with green lights, whereas the
Class 5 cabinets were"closed up and pretty mundane," says a network
operations supervisor at the facility

But the most significant difference is what you can't see: a platform
that promises to generate increased revenue through support of new
converged services while slashing capital and operational costs by up
to 50%.

Verizon is looking to ditch 2,500 Class 5 switches in about as many
local central offices in favor of IP softswitches, plus line media and
trunking gateways. The carrier is deploying Nortel's Communications
Server 2000 softswitch, Packet Voice Gateway (PVG) and Media Gateway
9000 products. [.....]

Verizon also has installed many softswitches in five central offices
in California, but has not yet turned up service on them because state
regulators are challenging an FCC rule that does not require
incumbents to unbundle VoIP facilities to provide wholesale access for

"Unfortunately we ran into a little bit of a regulatory snafu," Elby
says. "It's one of those classic state vs. federal issues."

Elby says the recent FCC ruling that found Vonage's VoIP service to be
interstate in nature and thus exempt from state regulation has no
bearing on Verizon's softswitch deployment in California. Wholesale
unbundling is a separate issue, and Elby argues that California has
erred in its judgment and questions if this error will be fixed.

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