Thursday, June 22, 2006

The future of connectivity options

Telco 2.0 has a nice list of types of connectivity options from a business and pricing model standpoint:
NameTechnical relationship of service and connectivityFinancial relationship of service and connectivityExamples
vertically integrated interactive serviceIntegratedIntegratedPSTN, mobile voice, SMS
vertically integrated broadcast serviceIntegratedIntegratedFM radio, DVB-H
stand-alone best-effort connectivitySeparateSeparatedial-up, today's broadband
QoS and billing enhanced connectivityApplication-aware; session/control plane integratedIntegratedIMS
service-funded connectivityApplication-aware; no technical integrationIntegratedSkype Zones
user- or community-built free connectivitySeparateSeparateOpen Wi-Fi, basic muni service, mesh
local unrouted connectivityVariesNo monetary exchangeBluetooth, Family Radio Service
other connectivityApplication-agnosticTieredParis Metro pricing

They go on to give projections of the relative significance of each of these options from today through 2016--they foresee huge declines in the vertically integrated interactive service model and expansion of all of the others, with the greatest growth in the stand-alone best-effort connectivity model. That much is a pretty easy prediction based on the replacement of the PSTN with IP.

What's notable, though, is that there are other models besides stand-alone best-effort connectivity which they also see growing substantially, with QoS and billing enhanced connectivity the largest of those, through next-gen telco services like IMS.

Those who advocate network neutrality regulations should be careful not to endorse rules which would prohibit or impair the possibility of innovations using business models other than stand-alone best-effort connectivity.

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