Track 1: Access Network Advances

The Future of Broadband; Open and Neutral?

September 25, 2019 9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

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Greg Whelan



Broadband is more than high-speed Internet access offered over telephone and cable networks. Your local broadband infrastructure really is the 21st Century roads. Yet, broadband is easy until you leave Powerpoint. Local broadband networks (and telco and cable) are vast civil engineering marvels. Even more challenging than lightning strikes and rodent chews are the vast political, financial and business challenges incumbents and over-builders face. In the future, broadband is about connecting local consumers and business to the Edge of the Cloud. Broadband is not synonymous with “Internet Access”. The edge could be in the nearest big city data center, the local central office or even hyper-localized in the neighborhood fiber hut. Once this occurs, Open and Neutral Broadband transforms the power and economics of the cloud and beyond. The current broadband ecosystem is at dis-equilibrium and it needs innovation. Broadband technologies including 5G, Fiber, DOCSIS, Fixed Wireless, CBRS, Satellites and Wi-Fi are all inventions that solve the same problem; they are last mile bit transport solutions. They work just fine. The challenges include finding the right business and financial architectures that match local on-the ground realities. This is where innovation is needed. Open and Neutral Broadband is the innovation that’s driving the future of local economies around the globe. Properly architected, it will become a local economic development platform driving vibrant communities.