Marc Andreessen said that software is eating the world. From my perspective, cloud is eating the whole telecom space. CenturyLink (News - Alert), AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers have made big plays into the cloud space. Most of the booths at trade shows are cloud. Articles, blogs, podcasts, ads, and magazines are all about cloud. It is sucking all the air out of telecom.
The foundation for access to the cloud is telecom – whether it is xDSL, LTE (News - Alert), or some other pipe. There isn’t much competition in the pipe. In fact, most Americans have only one choice for broadband over 20Mbps (that would be cable).
We hardly ever talk about the pipe, despite its importance. On the cellular side, we are seeing sponsored data. No charge for access to a sponsor’s site. This is interesting in that telecom doesn’t talk about its network at all. Who is connected to the most eyeballs? Who offers the best cloud connectivity – not speed, but actual throughput and less latency for workloads on Office365 and other SaaS (News - Alert). Advertising interconnection to the most VoIP providers might mean that fax over IP and HD voice will work off-net.
The cloud hype is good because it sells not just bigger bandwidth, but redundant pipes as well. It all is sold on price per mega. A pipe is a pipe. However, those in the know understand that a pipe is not a pipe. Oversubscription, last mile ownership, upstream connectivity, and network management affect the actual usefulness of the circuit.
The afternoon cable hangover or the politics of squeezing the peering to cause buffering or even port blocking to handicap OTT VoIP are just a few of the major ways that a pipe is not a pipe. It will affect productivity. It is a conversation that few partners have with prospects. What will they need that bandwidth for? The difference between dedicated and broadband is the difference between productivity and frustration by employees.
Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO Inc., a telecom consulting firm in Tampa, Fla.
Edited by Maurice Nagle