HomeTelecomsWhy telecoms will never be dumb pipes


Why telecoms will never be dumb pipes — 1 Comment

  1. Richard,

    Spot on!

    I would go further and say that dumb is a poor expression too!

    The reality is that layer 1 (physical) is very complex. We can constantly improve on how it is built, implemented, operated, etc… Materials and engineering are constantly improving to allow for completely different and new forms of transit. And let’s not forget the day we’ll want and demand redundancy and security everywhere. So why limit ourselves to one system, especially when we have wireless?

    Take the complexity of layer 1 and multiply it 50 fold in layer 2. Likewise in layer 3, etc…

    We are at the early stages of understanding the complexity and richness of communication networks. Most importantly, they can be 1-way or 2-way, they can be real-time or near-real-time or store-and-forward, they can be synchronous or asynchronous, etc… None of the utilities you cite can handle this diversity and richness.

    The bottom line is there is no need, particularly with today’s digital wired and wireless networks, to limit ourselves as to the potential of new virtual economies. We need far better analysis of the impacts of network effects at every layer and how interconnection and settlements can increase consumption and capacity utilization and improve the velocity of investment. We need to better understand how marginal supply and demand can clear efficiently. In the process we’ll probably find that networks resemble the human body more than they resemble the road system. And finally, we’ll understand that the folks who coined the expression at the old MaBell were truly the dumb ones. Unfortunately there were many who rebelled from the old, ossified PSTN mentality, but also got it terribly wrong in the process.


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