Charting the road to broadband nirvana..

04th October 2015
Charting the road to broadband nirvana..

Virtualised network functions, software defined radio,  will drive ultra-fast  communications: Broadband Forum
Bangalore, October 5 2015: It's uncanny how  fact can sometimes  mimic fiction. Thirteen years after  Steven Spielberg's futuristic, 'Minority   report', so many of the  technologies  in that Tom Cruise-starrer,   have become  a reality:  multi-touch screens,  motion sensing phones,  retina scanners,  e-paper, insect-sized robots, face recognizing  billboards. 
Broadband is   the buckle  which  binds all these technologies and delivers them to millions of users worldwide. And   2015 looks like being the year when the  last speed blocks are removed and India joins the global race  towards broadband-enhanced  living.
Consider:  all major Indian  mobile providers have announced 4G services. The number of mobile phones in use  has just crossed 1 billion. One in four Indians  has access to the Internet.
We don't have another Spielberg   film to second-guess the future  -- but last week in Munich, Germany at the Gigabit Europe  conference,   the Broadband Forum, the nodal agency driving broadband  solutions worldwide,  stepped into the breach and  presented a 20:20 vision of a  hyper-connected  world by the year 2020 and what it holds out for us. 
At home, hotel or hotspot, we can expect  ultra fast Net connections that  reach us  by a combo of wired and wireless paths.   Regardless of the device we use -- PC, laptop, tablet, TV  or phone -- we can access the same service  anytime, anywhere.  4G will soon become history as a ten-times-faster 5G  becomes standard.   
And --  something that Indians keen on paisa vasool or  money's worth, will app-reciate:   the bills for all the customised  tools we use  on our phones  will come not from the mobile service provider  who adds his service charge, but from the app itself -- in homoeopathic doses that we can control.|
We  will increasingly  talk, with anyone in the world  as we see each other,  through Skype-like  video calling  mostly for free, while  the corporates   will  continue to pay for  such services from  Cisco, WebEx or Citrix. 
On its  part, industry will  go the virtual way: After storage, and servers   moved to the cloud, the push  is  to virtualise  network functions. After Software Defined  Radio (SDN),  the new mantra that is expected to set the pace for broadband growth, is Network Function Virtualisation (NFN).
"This is an era of enormous bandwidth demand",  Broadband Forum  CEO Robin Mersh  and  Strategic Marketing Director  Mark Fishburn told  IndiaTech Online  in a  special rtelephonic briefing  from London, "We are completely neutral about the technologies that will get us there. We have embarked on a new challenge, a new opportunity and in fact, the chance to create a whole new world of communications.”
Different nations   have chosen different routes  to a broadband future. We have to wait and  see if  India's chosen  path will lead us most swiftly, painlessly to telecom nirvana.
Anand Parthasarathy
For a reality check on  how India compares with her South Asian
neighbours when it comes to Internet rollout, read our recent report on the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) &  UNESCO-sponsored 
study  by the   Broadband Commission   on the State of Broadband’  2015