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The Sustainable Network by Sarah Sorensen

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Chapter 21. Sustainable Providers

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People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.

Dalai Lama

Given that this is a book about the network, I think it’s fitting to take a look at the economic sustainability of the network providers—those who are investing and building out the network and driving direct revenues from that network. This industry is going through enormous changes and will most likely look much different in three to five years than it does right now.

In general, transitions are occurring within the network itself, as providers evolve their current infrastructure into next-generation IP networks (NGN) that can support the ever-expansive users, devices, and applications traversing it. And then there are the movements within the providers; there will be restructuring and consolidation, and whole new business models will emerge. Every few months, you’ll see deals forged, mergers announced, and new providers taking a foothold.

But before showing you the forces shaping this industry, let’s take a stab at categorizing these different providers. It will help with the discussion. There are many ways these organizations can be sliced and diced, and the reality is that these definitions are blurring so much and so quickly that they are almost becoming meaningless. Having made such a disclaimer, there ...

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