Spending money on new technology can be expensive, but telecom presents unique considerations. Existing telecommunications services and networking equipment may work fine as they are, but there are times when services or support are discontinued. Failing to keep up with technology updates can put an enterprise in danger of disruptions to its network.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules for traditional wireline telephone companies and some cable companies’ services require:
- Written notice to affected customers of any planned discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service, stating that customers have the right to file comments with the FCC.
- Notification of affected customers, and permission from the FCC to discontinue, reduce, or impair service.
- Continued Service for a minimum period (31 days for non-dominant providers and 60 days for dominant providers) after the FCC releases a Public Notice announcing the request to discontinue, reduce, or impair service.
These rules are designed to limit disruption to customers, but enterprises often face other challenges. For example, with the move to an all-Internet Protocol (IP) environment, Time Division Multiplexed (TDM) services are forcing many enterprises to replace DS1 with Ethernet and IP services.
There may also be significant new costs as old services are discontinued and new services with licenses and new taxes are implemented. Failure to meet Minimum Annual Revenue Commitments (MARCs) with a carrier can lead to costly penalties. If the enterprise doesn’t track and monitor its bills, the service provider penalty may go uncontested despite the fact that MARC was missed because the carrier discontinued some of its services that were used to meet the enterprises’ commitment.
In another case, AT&T determined that it would shut down its 2G GSM technology in the United States so it could reclaim and re-purpose this bandwidth for future needs. Many enterprises are grappling with a transition that includes hardware dispersed far from corporate headquarters and central locations. At some point between now and the end of 2016, 2G GSM devices that rely on AT&T’s network will lose service.
Changes in technology add stress and work effort for telecom managers. TEM programs can help manage these transitions by providing an accurate of inventory of hardware and carrier services. While older systems can be prohibitively expensive for carriers to maintain, 60 days is not a long period of time for an enterprise to identify new services, research alternatives, provision and test new services, and disconnect services that are no longer available. Sufficient time was provided for the 2G expiration, but it is still a major complex transition that will go right to the wire for many organizations.Tags: telecom expense management (TEM)