No plans to go all-VoIP in seven years, Verizon says

Circuit-switched voice still the bread and butter

VoIP may be very much alive, but that doesn't mean Verizon is aiming to kill off its traditional copper network anytime soon.

A Verizon spokesman has issued a statement denying a report filed by Bloomberg news last week claiming that the company was planning to route all of its voice calls through Internet Protocol within the next seven years. According to the original report, Verizon Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton had said that Verizon was planning to transition away from its traditional PSTN voice services within the next decade and that all of Verizon's landlines would soon be replaced by VoIP.

"We've built our business over the years with circuit-switched voice being our bread and butter," Stratton told Bloomberg. "But increasingly, we are in the business of selling, basically, data connectivity."

However, Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe said on the Verizon policy blog this week that Stratton's statements were misconstrued and that Verizon had no immediate plans to ditch its PSTN services. In particular, Rabe says Stratton meant to say voice was increasingly becoming an application that could be served over IP and that VoIP "is a logical platform for any company wanting to break into the voice services business."

Despite all this Rabe says the quality of VoIP calls still can't match the quality of calls sent over the traditional PSTN and that it wouldn't make sense for Verizon to dismantle its copper network simply because alternative platforms had developed.

"Neither John nor anyone else here thinks that the traditional, circuit-switched phone network will be a thing of the past in seven years," Rabe says. "There is no logical reason for a company like Verizon, with a terrific voice network already in place, to dismantle that network and replace it with VoIP."

Although Verizon will keep its PSTN, the company is expected to expand its VoIP offerings in the coming months by offering a VoIP service as part of its FiOS consumer video and data package.

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Brad Reed

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