Broadband 20/20: A hybrid ecosystem of communications

The Broadband Forum has a new vision and it could affect municipal utilities, rural cooperatives and other power players in remote areas.

Broadband 20/20: A Hybrid Ecosystem Of Communications

Credit: across

The Broadband 20/20 vision is meant to leverage new technologies in the home, small business and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network. The innovative use of NFV, SDN, ultra-fast access, IoT (Internet of Things) and, when formally defined, 5G, enables the delivery of ultra-fast broadband services, with distributed compute and storage to anywhere and any device in home and business locations. Rural broadband is important in getting smart grid deployed in some of the United States’ most remote areas — and some municipal utilities and other rural power players could be eligible providers. The need for fast networks and better information in some rural areas is real. Investing in network improvements can be expensive for utilities, but the value proposition could be significant.

The top five areas of innovation identified and enabled by Broadband 20/20 are ultra-fast infrastructure, intelligent home/small business, seamless converged wireline and wireless networks, performance-assured on-demand IP broadband services, and a personalized network experience.

“Of course, all service providers are very focused on profitable revenue-generating services but this is the first time this or any forum has come together as a community to take a holistic approach to new technologies and have them deliver real value,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. ” we have embarked on a new challenge, a new opportunity and in fact the chance to create a whole new world of communications.”

In order to realize the promise of Broadband 20/20, the Forum has undergone a major restructure into eight work areas with a new culture of rapid technical development so as to incrementally deliver technical specifications, architecture, management, software data models, APIs, interoperability tests, etc., around which the industry can evolve.

“NFV and SDN has made the industry think about how fast we need to develop our networks in this era of enormous bandwidth demand and it has made it look across the entire eco-system to converge and develop technologies that will create revenue and services quickly and efficiently,” Mersh said. The Forum’s Broadband 20/20 vision is for ultra-fast technologies and software to be delivering significant new levels of performance and assurance, and rapid deployment. For the foreseeable future, the broadband infrastructure will act as a hybrid ecosystem, handling both current static and new programmable, virtualized networking and computing as the market moves forward.

The Forum has been working to deliver on many key work areas in the Broadband 20/20 vision, but much work remains to be done, particularly in the area of data models and APIs.

“The pace of change in telecommunications never slackens — it always increases — and this new focus for the Forum will support the industry in not only matching that pace but do it by creating important new revenue streams at the same time,” said Mersh.

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