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Scott Slater
Strategic Advisor and Co-Founder
+1 (800) 333-7745
scott@personalbroad
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Connie Conners
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connors.com

Almost There: Personal Broadband Beckons
Scott E. Slater

Personal broadband—affordable, ubiquitous high-speed broadband—will offer an IP-based, always-on, inexpensive primary online access for your PC or laptop. This means that high-speed broadband will no longer be limited to a building or a location, but instead it will terminate with a user, device, or business. Software-defined network solutions dramatically reduce the cost for wholesale and retail high-speed broadband, everywhere. So why don't we have it already?


The core technologies to make personal broadband a reality are already in place—Wi-Fi, for example, is a personal broadband technology. However, Wi-Fi does not represent a sustainable service model because it uses public spectrum, because it does not support end-to-end class of service, and because it represents an addition to the existing cost of broadband access. The upshot is that we're still missing a clear global market vision and understanding of the personal broadband opportunity and its scope.

That's problematic, because personal broadband services could deliver true sustainable Internet economies—which in turn would deliver new jobs, new opportunities, and new service industries. And many new ways of looking at what the Internet, PCs, entertainment and consumer electronics can offer, when the focus moves from mere access to end-to-end IP interactivity.

Unlike with cellular services—which is an expensive, specialized, and commoditized service model—virtually all kinds of Internet industry leaders and smaller startups (cable, DSL, ISPs wireless, software, entertainment, PC manufacturers and infrastructure) could benefit directly in the US, Europe, Asia and beyond. Personal broadband is scalable, efficient, and sustainable. Manufacturers and operators attending 802.16 and 802.20 sessions are already investigating and developing these inevitable IP-based solutions. Those will incorporate smart antennas and use TDD (Time Division Duplex) spectrum to reduce the cost and limitations of access of high-speed broadband for consumers, business, entertainment, and technology around the world.

Economically, it will be possible to deploy multiple networks a single market, offering previously-unthinkable opportunities for the wholesale and retail and enterprise markets. So instead of having one provider, personal broadband users will be able to choose from multiple brands and capabilities that offer the services and solutions that are most appropriate to the users' requirements.

Last month, personal broadband wholesale services were deployed in Sydney, the first major global city to offer a Personal Broadband service of 1 Mbps everywhere. Vodafone, TCI, Crown Castle, ArrayComm, Mitsubishi, and Kyocera are all participants in this endeavor, and for a retail price of what users tend to pay for dial-up access at home, users can now get flat-rate, managed-cost, always-on Internet access of 1 Mbps in their homes, in their offices—and everywhere in between.

What do you think? If the cost of ubiquitous high-speed IP access becomes equal to (or less than) the cost of fixed access, what other services or markets would beg to be developed and deployed? How sustainable would Internet and IP-based models be if everyone could afford online access? And what might the results be, in areas such as investment, services, and other sectors?


Scott Slater is a co-founder of the Personal Broadband Industry Association.

 
 
   
         
   

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