The Nation's voice networks are in the midst of multiple transitions that promise to change how we communicate. First, the transmission infrastructure that carries our voice communication is moving away from reliance on copper to fiber optics. Next, the so-called circuit-switched protocols that have long underpinned traditional telephone service are transitioning to newer Internet protocols, or IP systems. And finally, many Americans are choosing to substitute wireless service for traditional wired voice communications. However, there may be challenges that consumers, carriers, and the public safety officials face as our networks increasingly rely on all-IP technology and fiber optic infrastructure. Consumers have come to trust the reliability and resiliency of the old copper telephone network. They cannot afford to wait for a disaster to strike to find out that there are gaps in our communications networks in an all-IP world.
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