Page 4: The expanding marketplace
In recent years there has been a rapid growth in telecommunication services such as call waiting, call identification, conference calls and voice mail. A larger development has been in the world of data rather than voice. In the past, these were considered to be niche markets, with few mass market opportunities.
The development of the Internet has, however, provided the most significant increase in demand for services since telecom services were first introduced. E-mail traffic has already overtaken voice on the world’s networks and is developing rapidly. Other applications are also evolving, such as video telephony, video on demand and home-working.
As telecommunication services have expanded, so have customer needs. Users of communication technologies demand reliability and want fast download speed that provides them with a range of efficiently run services.
Two features assisted its growth. Firstly, PC penetration amongst consumers was high and this was aided by cheap equipment. Secondly, local calls throughout the US, with the exception of Manhattan, are not metered and are therefore effectively free. The more customers, particularly businesses, become dependent on the use of data-based technologies, the more they require a range of other services to guarantee the integrity of such data, particularly those which ensure services are of high quality and are not interrupted.
Customers also require faster and more flexible solutions to complex patterns of service demand. From the customers’ point of view, they require a network that would be:
- able to evolve
Narrowband technologies could only cater for limited growth in communication traffic. Broadband data switching was the only way telecommunications companies could respond to this new and fast-changing environment. Entering this marketplace would put Marconi Communications head-to-head with stiff competition from large, well established names such as Alcatel, Lucent Technologies, Siemens, Nortel and Fujitsu.