We all remember dialing up to American Online, Net Zero, and Juno the ISP’s that utilized last mile copper transport delivering signaling via sound transporting thousands of data packets. We remember this, just as we remember the emblem of the globe spinning while awaiting an incoming email, image, or file. We remember getting up and getting a cup of coffee, waiting was the norm- this was technologies latest and greatest achievement. These ISP’s relied on hard line copper transport and the relied on the end users modems to receive and relay sounds to communicate with their servers. Businesses were no different; they also utilized traditional copper pair delivery (except it was mass delivery). T1’s / DS1’s relied on multi-pair copper delivery, but it was all over the same last mile transport. The Bells took full advantage, rate carding businesses and residential consumers alike.
ATT, SBC, Ameritech, Verizon, and Sprint who were tier 1 providers controlled this corner market, they owned this corner market. The last mile infrastructure underneath the ground was there’s and they planned to get full price for every last pop or beep data transmission that occurred. These giants double dipped to their hearts content: last mile rates for the landlines, last mile tariffs, and modem transmission was of course transacting through the PSTN (public switch telephone network) so they charged usage as well. There was one problem; this copper network was largely built for voice transmission. Data transmission was possible, but it was in it’s infancy (it was unreliable and it was expensive).
Ethernet posed itself as a promising technology, delivering data transmissions at the speed of light and best of all this new infrastructure could bypass or build out the “800 pound gorilla monopolies”. Wireless last mile delivery also posed an immediate threat, the baby bells and large CLEC rushed to equip themselves so that they could deliver the right technologies for the market. Suddenly a market that controlled by just a few key players was scrambling to get a grasp on these new technologies, and they were hopping that they wouldn’t lose their footing to the new kids on the block. Businesses and consumers could benefit enjoying better technology, better reliability, and it was at the right price. The giants that ruled this industry would have to evolve and play a new game or they would be faced with extinction. Competition had encouraged the best men to win, and it changed the telecom industry forever.