This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
I’m changing direction, so my column will be moving from INTERNET TELEPHONY to NGN Magazine, effective immediately. In fact, my first column for NGN debuted in the November 2010 issue.
For two decades, I’ve focused on telephony disruption — computer telephony, VoIP, mobile networks, mobile applications and communications in emerging markets. In the 1990s, telephony disruption was enabled by ever increasing computer power. Computer horsepower is still key today, but increasing Internet bandwidth is also critical. Whether it’s Skype (News - Alert) video or a new iPhone application, it’s the combination of more computer cycles and more Internet bandwidth that makes new applications possible. But there is a difference.
New computer power comes from hardware and software innovators operating in a very competitive global market. The same applies to the Internet backbone. But when it comes to local Internet connectivity, either fixed or mobile, things are not so pretty. There is only a limited right of way in front of your home and the rights to install wires in that ROW have already been given to local monopolists (electricity, phone, cable TV, etc.). There is a lot more wireless spectrum, but we have a regulatory regime, based on the way radio receivers worked in 1920, that has created artificial spectrum scarcity – today most wireless spectrum is completely unused most of the time in most locations (even in downtown Manhattan). Yet almost all spectrum has been licensed to someone. So our Internet connectivity is slowly getting better, but enormous disparities exist, and the U.S. has fallen far from the leadership position we held in the 1990s.
The best way to further progress in Internet telephony, indeed in all forms of communication, is to get more bandwidth available to more people at lower cost. My first effort in that direction is netBlazr Inc., a new company focused on disrupting the way Internet connectivity is delivered to small and medium businesses in U.S. urban areas.
Why SMBs? Because the greatest Internet cost disparities in the U.S. today are for business services. Depending on your address, the cost per mbps per month for committed data rate services can vary by factors of 20x to 30x, even between buildings just a few hundred feet apart. Anything to address this disparity will be good for American business.
Since my focus has shifted from applications (like VoIP) to basic connectivity, it makes sense to move my column from INTERNET TELEPHONY to NGN, a magazine focused on service providers deploying new networks. To ease the transition, my first NGN column discusses network support for VoIP, and my second column will discuss similar support for triple play. Please join me at NGN Magazine.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi