Net Neutrality Friday

So, here I am sitting in Northern California listening to the rain in what is being called "Miracle March". The rain is good news for us here and I want to reflect the thoughtful and quiet times in today's post. I think we are heading for a bout of stability. Pish Posh you say? There is all this legal wrangling around the telecom network and the Internet. Well, there is always churn on debate on the regulatory side. What I mean is on the technology side. There was a period for about 15 years at the start of the Internet where things jumbled around. There were choices made, short term and long term.

If we go back to the start of the World Wide Web (which was really the start of the consumer Internet), we are in 1992. Consumers had to use dial-up Modems for service. This continued on while Broadband Technologies were being developed and commercialized. Most folks forget (for example) that the original Cable Modems were not based on the DOCSIS standard. But the availability of any Cable Modems gave the cable folks a huge leg up in the Consumer Broadband Internet Market (even today 60%+ of Broadband Connections in the US are Cable and not Telco). DSL had deployment drawbacks and the telcos were slow to respond and adopt the newer technologies. I had one of the very early DSL lines in PacBell in 1999 with Alcatel 1000 Modem and a splitter in the NID. But by 2003, we were already onto ADSL2+ and were building the prototypes for the BPON Deployment in FiOS.

Think about that. From 1992 to 2003, we adopted 4 different complete technologies to deliver the Internet on wireline networks. Since then? About the biggest change was BPON to GPON and the broader adoption of VDSL2 as part of U-verse in a Fiber to the Curb (FTTC) scheme. These were extensions of the technologies we already deployed. Cable has done its work in extending DOCSIS to get higher and higher rates.

We have had more changes in the Wireless world with the adoption of data oriented 3G and 4G networks and more importantly the elimination of the Walled Garden with the iPhone. A Walled Garden is a private service that mimics a public one. A non-wireless example would have been AOL in the old days before their subscribers could surf the true Internet. They used to have to use sites on AOL. Just like older "smartphones" only let you surf specific sites under the control of the Wireless provider.

All of this has been stable now for about 10 years. Yes, we have the refinement of technology. But no real step function changes. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean important things are not getting done. It just means that we are in a different period. As a consumer, it is comforting in some ways to know that the technology that I buy today is not obsolete the day I buy it. I remember PC's having a useful life of 2 years at most and phones only 1.

Will this change? At some point yes. But I have blogged at other times about how the way that things are being bought are forcing commonality between providers at all levels in the food chain. All this does create momentum away from disruption. This will be a good thing for us and may lead to some more normal investment cycles by Service Providers.

Jim Sackman Focal Point Business Coaching Business Coaching, Executive Training, Sales Training, Marketing

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