UNE-L, the End of an Era

Looming deadlines for B2B communications service providers

There’s something about great rivalries that draws our attention and forces us to watch. In the words of philosopher, poet and FCC chairman Ajit Pai, “some long-running disputes are legendary, such as the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn, and the divide between Coke and Pepsi.” These choice words tee-up the longstanding quarrel over the requirement in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for incumbent LECs to provide unbundled access to certain strategic network elements at inexpensive rates. Unbundled network loops (UNE-Ls), have enabled CLECs to compete with incumbents on a somewhat even footing. They have also, in the view of some, stifled investment in newer access technologies.

As with any great rivalry, no matter how protracted, it ain’t over ‘till the fat lady sings! This expression, calling to mind a curvy soprano prima donna hitting the high note in the closing aria of an opera, cautions folks who presume to know the outcome of an event that is still in progress. It has been in use since the mid-1970s by rivals and comeback hopefuls far and wide. Well, SHE’s SINGING! The long battle over UNE-L, which was fought at the FCC, in the courts, and on Capitol Hill is all but over and UNE-L will soon become a quaint historic factoid.

It’s been over nine months since the Commission decided DS-1 UNE-Ls (the workhorse of B2B data connectivity) must stop being ordered after October, 2022 and phased-out by April, 2024. Providers must also transition away from their bigger siblings, DS-3s, by October, 2023. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200 –apparently, the monopoly is no more. The 115 page FCC order on “Modernizing Unbundling and Resale Requirements in an Era of Next-Generation Networks and Services” (say that name three times fast) has created a migration imperative for service providers large and small who rely on them, adding a groom project to resources which, in many cases, were already stretched thin. If this feels like the proverbial last straw for your access management organization’s back, there’s good news. Axcent networks has deep experience and can provide self-directed teams who can identify all impacted loops and deliver on time and within budget.

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Centrally based in Plano, TX, Axcent has been serving wireless, cable, ILEC, and CLEC operators with service solutions for telecom integration, network optimization, and technology migration since 2004.

Axcent Networks leadership team has over 27 years experience in the telecom and IT industry.

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