Who Put The Con In Convergence?
by Ian Angus

Published March 2002




There is no doubt that we are in the midst of a global communications revolution. Fiber optics, wireless technology and the Internet are transforming the way we communicate, and transforming the industry that delivers communications services.


One result has been a great wave of speculation about what the changes might mean and what the future might bring. Thousands of articles, books and websites have been devoted to proving the singular historical importance of some specific trend in or caused by the communications revolution.


I want to focus on two major and apparently opposed schools of thought, represented by the phone companies and large networking manufacturers on one side, and by Internet service providers and IP evangelists on the other.



One side says that the dominant trend is "convergence" - all things digital coming together in one box, one network, one service provider.


The other side says that the dominant trend is war to the death between the Internet upstarts and the entrenched phone companies, and that the Internet will inevitably win. 


Both are wrong. These are partisan mirror-image positions put forward by vendors and their representatives. Neither one reflects reality or the interests of customers.



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