New Role for Fixed Network: Backhaul and Feeder Functions

Going forward, communications infrastructure is going to take a perhaps-predictable path, many will argue.

At a high level, retail communications--globally--has become “mobile.” Though the role of fixed networks as a retail platform will remain more significant, dwindling retail revenue will force changes, including a huge need for lower-cost infrastructure, as revenue potential will be less robust.

Investment and revenue growth, on a global level, will shift to developing regions. The fixed network increasingly will take on the role of backhaul and trunking mechanism for mobile and wireless networks.

And despite the historic preference of fixed network operators for “smart” infrastructure, much of the global transport and access platforms will become simpler, with more intelligence at the edge, and less in the core.

For that reason, fixed networks will have to cost less.

At the same time, dwindling legacy revenues will force service providers to create big new revenue sources, sell themselves to larger providers or take other steps to match lower revenues with higher stranded asset profiles.

Critics of moves by AT&T to buy Time Warner, or Comcast’s past acquisition of NBC Universal argue that too much power or control results. In fact, we are likely to find that such acquisitions only help access providers reposition themselves for a market where traditional access services no longer support the core business model.


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