Kenny Edgerton is Chief Operating Officer at MATRIX. Kenny retired from AT&T after 30 years of outstanding service and increasing levels of management responsibility. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of Network Planning and Engineering. Previously, he also worked as Executive Director of Network Operations, Vice President and COO of Bellsouth.net, Assistant Vice President of Bellsouth Business Systems and other positions across BellSouth and AT&T.
A New Era of Telecommunications Needs
As people of all ages more frequently use mobile devices, the cultural trend of how society communicates will significantly impact the decades-old, traditional wireline network.
Unlike the enormous appeal that the newest wireless phones have on consumers, the out-of-sight, out-of-mind equipment that has helped process wireline voice and data communications for decades generally gets little, if any, love from the public.
But it’s in the often overlooked central offices of telecommunication service providers that house massive amounts of sophisticated equipment where a major evolution continues to unfold with huge ramifications on staffing needs.
The 411 on IP and TDM Networks
As I see it, the change to an all-IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure from a Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) technology used for the majority of today’s phone calls sees no sign of slowing down.
This shift in technologies is needed by the larger service providers as they work to consolidate equipment, centralize processes and decommission older equipment to control expenses.
This phasing out, or retiring in place, of the TDM equipment can have immediate cost control savings. However, the challenge emerges when service providers try to decommission the older equipment with their in-house employees whose skills are needed elsewhere to install new equipment for rolling out services.
Consultants Bring Valued Expertise
MATRIX partners very closely with many recently retired telecommunications employees who have decades of expertise in managing the wireline networks and related circuits that are ready to be retired themselves.
As service providers encounter more networks in need of being phased out, the pivotal question they will encounter is how to go in and groom their wireline networks and identify the circuits and equipment that are not necessary and ready to be decommissioned.
If third-party companies were interested in the resale value of the older communications equipment, the initiative would be considerably simpler. However, vendors are not showing much interest in the equipment. As a result, major service providers are not moving to remove the central office equipment but instead are opting to retire it in place.
Cost-Effectively Cutting Losses
When projects like these emerge, MATRIX Telecom Services consultants can step into the familiar surroundings of central offices to turn off, and power down, equipment that’s no longer needed. In doing so, the service providers are able to cost-effectively cut their power consumption and claim retirement value write-offs for decommissioned equipment.
Given the trend to retire in place outdated equipment, I’m constantly on the lookout for former central office switch managers, capacity managers and DSLAM installer/managers who installed central office DSLAMs many years ago.
Wireline Business Going Gang Busters
In the years ahead, it’s expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of telecommunications central offices will undergo this type of transformation. In each case, the project could take several weeks, or months, to complete.
One note of caution...just because a large amount of central offices are undergoing massive transformations does not mean the wireline telecommunications network is nearing extinction.
On the contrary, today’s wireline telecommunications network is vibrant. What’s changed is how it produces a steady revenue mix. In the old days, it was all about traditional voice calls. Today, it’s all about Voice over Internet Protocol and high bandwidth transactions all in the name of delivering data and entertainment to customers.
The challenge for the retiring in place of telecommunications equipment that’s no longer vital to future needs is upon the service providers to do it in an affordable manner. When they enter projects with higher wage resources, it’s impossible to have the savings outweigh the cost. But when third-party, trained consultants do the work, the power reduction linked to the outdated equipment alone pays for the project. MATRIX stands ready to help now, and in the coming years.