ViewsLetter(SM) on Provisioning

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ViewsLetter on Provisioning         20 Oct 2003        #31
A fortnightly look at provisioning automation.

   --Voice Over DSL Becoming a Reality
   --Can Automated Telephony Service Be Far Behind?

    William A. Flanagan, Editor and Publisher

Five years ago I tried to convince DSL vendors they should offer voice services.  None of them wanted to deal with anything but pure Internet access.  At that time, voice generated over 90% of telecom revenue, so their business plans, based only on data, addressed less than 10% of the potential market.

Since then almost all pure-DSL companies have disappeared, been bought, gone through bankruptcy, or more than one of the above.  But there is joy in the world as several local exchange carriers (LECs) are rolling out local voice service over IP on DSL access. 

Telecom Italia declared last week (at ITU Telecom World in Geneva) that it plans to move entirely to VoIP on DSL (eventually).  They expect 4 million Italian subscribers (20% of Italy) to be on this service by 2004.  Today, they report all backbone voice is VoIP.  For practice with VoDSL, they'll roll it out first in their French subsidiary, starting in January 2004.

In the U.S., we've had many VoIP LECs who provide the softwswitch (functional intelligence for dialing plans and "phone features") and a gateway to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) for IP phones or PCs equipped with speakers and microphones.  For the most part, the IP access could be anything that was fast enough:  DSL, cable modem, T-1, or better.

The interesting development is that in September one of the surviving DSL companies, (, bought one of the VoIP companies, TalkingNets.  Now there is a single entity offering broadband IP and local telephone service (long distance, too, but that's actually easier than local service). 

To put whipped cream on my cake, the softswitch is from BroadSoft, which offers a web portal ( that can control all provisioning functions.  This portal was designed for customers as well as carrier personnel.  Existing customers can personalize their services and features.  New customers can order their local and long distance services. hasn't deployed automated provisioning, but they are aware of the potential and at least thinking about it.  That thinking may continue for some time--the people in the acquiring company were mostly data-oriented.  Understandably, they'll want to get comfortable with being a LEC before biting off a chunk as big as automated provisioning by new customers.

But as the Italians say at meal time, Mangia!

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 Updated: 17 July 2004 2003

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