Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Disruptive forces bringing U.S. telecommunications infrastructure to an inflection point

Several disruptive forces are building toward a tipping point heralding a new era of construction, operation and regulation of telecommunications infrastructure in the United States. 
  • The realization amid exponential growth in bandwidth demand that the nation needs to rapidly fiber up its legacy metal wire infrastructure and should have begun the work 20 years ago.
  • The growth of local fiber to the premise infrastructure projects inspired by Google Fiber and the associated push back against state laws restricting the ability of local governments to build and operate telecom infrastructure.
  • The obsolescence of bandwidth-defined "broadband" delivered over legacy metal wire infrastructure as an extension of plain old telephone service (POTS) and cable TV.
  • The Federal Communications Commission's potential classification of Internet infrastructure as a common carrier telecommunications service amid growing popular sentiment that premise Internet service is a utility that should be universally available. 
  • Excessive commercial risk that limits fiber infrastructure deployment to discrete neighborhoods.
  • The recognition of the large moral hazard risk associated with public policy reliance on incumbent promises to build out the footprints of Internet infrastructure in their service territories.
  • Growing unease with Comcast gaining excessive market power and getting a lock on most U.S. Internet premise infrastructure.
  • The breakdown of the triple play "smart pipe" vertical business model due to high video programming costs and the rise of a la carte Internet video offerings.

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