Friday, March 25, 2016

Should New Internet Access Platforms be "Standards Based?" And, if So, Which Standards?

Do Internet platforms based on use of balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles or satellites need to be “standards based?”

Since standards tend to create bigger markets, and lower network element costs, sure.

But suppliers of such platforms might well argue they are standards based, just not in the way some might interpret that statement.

Cable TV networks are standards based, for example. They simply are not the standards used by global “telecom” network suppliers.

The call for “standards” by Ericsson’s CEOt is not unexpected, coming from a major global telecom manufacturer.

Standards and innovation sometimes appear, especially in the case of market-driven technologies, as potentially opposed forces.

Innovations begin as niche developments not within the framework of existing things. Such innovations are “different” and often pose the threat of disruption to the existing order of things.

And, to be sure, it is in the interest of the largest global suppliers that global standards exist, since that creates and drives the largest potential markets and lower product cost, as well.

But standards amenable to “telecom” suppliers might also be unnecessary, either near term or possibly even longer term, in the sense Ericsson could be suggesting.

The cable TV industry relies on different standards, and yet is a very-effective platform alternative to standards-based “telecom” networks.

In the same way, satellite standards, or even standards developed to support new platforms, can succeed--and arguably should be allowed to experiment--without unnecessary concern for a full embrace of “telecom” standards.

The new platforms should embrace standards in ways that enhance their value and cost parameters. They arguably already do so.

End users might ultimately benefit more if the new platforms do not worry so much about “telecom” standards compliance.

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