The telecommunications industry is rapidly moving in the direction of broadband.
Broadband enables the delivery of integrated voice, data and video services. Until now we have been forced to treat these technologies separately, as there were no economically affordable integrated solutions that would allow for large-scale deployment.
This broadband concept is supported by the development of nextgen networks, via which it becomes technically possible to deliver these integrated services at very competitive costs. The new networks can easily drive the price of existing voice and data services down by 60%-80%. However, the catch is that there is a large pent-up demand for video-based applications; therefore the money that is saved should be made available to develop new integrated services that include video.
Based on this nextgen development, it is essential that the setting up of any new broadband/telecommunication networks – or the modification of any existing networks – should be approached with this integration in mind. Henceforth, developments will be driven by applications, making it possible for the developer to freely use voice, data and video as basic elements of their applications.
The structure to facilitate these developments, therefore, also needs to be adjusted at the management level. To operate within the new environment an ‘integrated’ upper management is essential. It is crucial to establish, at that level, a system integration (SI) function that includes the various IT&T services necessary to operate the nextgen network.
Providers of individual IT&T services would not be the appropriate partners to run the systems integration function, as this would lead to a conflict of interest. The SI function should be independent.
Nextgen networks are no longer the sole domain of corporates and government agencies. There is currently a very rapid development of broadband among small businesses and residential users, and this presents us with a unique opportunity to use telecommunications and data infrastructure to the wider benefit of the economy.
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