Session Floats Options for VoIP Migration

Moving from UNE-P to a VoIP model will be no small task for competitive service providers, so CompTel/ASCENT today presented a session on various options and considerations for CLECs as they make this transition.

The panelists on the Migration: Its Not For the Birds session included John Hickey, vice president and general manager for competitive carrier services at Intrado Inc.; Andy Randall, vice president of marketing at MetaSwitch (Booth 828); John Ticer, vice president of product marketing at NeuStar Inc.; and Bruce Widener, senior vice president of corporate development at Lightyear Network Solutions LLC (Booth 125).

Class 5 alternative switch supplier MetaSwitch has been working to migrate CLECs from UNE-P to UNE-L over the past seven to 10 months, says MetaSwitchs Randall, and he expects to help more CLECs make that transition over the next 12 months in light of the changing UNE-P rules. Randall says during the session he will discuss various options for implementation and present some carrier case studies.

UNE-P providers need to decide whether to take the plunge and buy their own switch or whether to outsource that business, and some will take that route, says Randall. The big questions are what are the ambitions of the company and how do the economics work, he says.

With VoIP, he says, service providers need to set out very clearly what they want to achieve as far as their customer target, revenue goals and the like, whereas with UNE-P its easier to go after anyone anywhere.

The distinguishing feature of UNE-P service providers is that their customers are spread all over the place, continues Randall. That makes it more important for the industry to deliver solutions that can scale down so you can serve lots of customers, but not any one large group in any one of the COs.

Randall also will touch on regional switching and interconnection. On the software side, because people want to do SIP trunking, I think youll see more cooperation between CLECs CLEC-to-CLEC interconnectivity, Randall says. So CLECs need softswitches that are able to do IP trunking, and not just to interface with the PSTN.

During his presentation, Intrados Hickey will discuss the need for CLECs moving into VoIP to support E911.

While E911 is part of the UNE-P package CLECs get through the incumbent LECs, E911 is not part of a basic softswitch solution, according to Intrado. So CLECs need to figure out how they want to get their calls to public safety answering points (PSAPs) and how to provide those PSAPs with the location of the customer making the 911 call.

Panelist John Ticer, vice president of product marketing at clearinghouse services provider NeuStar Inc. will tackle some of the numbering issues related to CLECs move to VoIP.

We have seen a tremendous amount of activity with North American carriers in past years, getting ready for and launching VoIP services, says Ticer. Most to date are either trials or very limited availibility and have been done outside of process. Someone gets the softswitches, gets the customers and goes live. But VoIP providers need to take care to ensure all the processes and features they used in the TDM world are supported in their new VoIP world.

Ticer says some carriers are inventing new workflow for numbering. Our systems service both traditional, circuit-switched and VoIP activities with most of the same products, he adds. But we have added some special VoIP features. For example, VoIP providers want to avoid paying for SS7 database dips and LEC access charges, he says, so NeuStar offers IP Traffic Exchange, which allows various VoIP service providers to get routing information directly from one another rather than having to use a circuit-based service provider as an intermediary. IP Traffic Exchange is a subset of NeuStars IP Clearinghouse solution.

Using these types of existing solutions, Ticer says, can help a CLEC moving into VoIP realize faster time to market; easily scale those services; reduce their expenses; and reduce their risk, since NeuStar charges carriers per transaction.

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