ITU Encourages Transitions to NGN

The ITU has released a major publication, Trends in Telecommunication Reform: the Road to NGN. In its 8th edition, Trends reports on the evolution of circuit-switched telecommunication into “next-generation” networks, as operators around the world fight to remain competitive. The Report aims at enabling regulators and policy-makers in developing countries to better understand the changes transforming the ICT sector so they can evolve their policy and regulatory frameworks to leverage today’s technological and market developments.

ITU say that next-generation networks (NGN) herald the shift from a “one network, one service” approach, to the delivery of many services over a single network. Based on IP, NGN migration builds on the expansion of broadband networks, the rise of VoIP, fixed-mobile convergence and IP television (IPTV). These new networks are being developed using a number of technologies, including wireless and mobile, fibre and cable, or by upgrades to existing copper lines. While some operators are focused on upgrading their core – or transport – networks to NGN, others are tackling their access networks that reach the end user.

Fixed-line operators face increased competition from wireless telecommunication operators, providers of cable television networks and large Internet content providers with strong brands and deep pockets. The search for new revenue streams from the increasingly popular triple or quadruple play bundled package of IPTV, voice calls and ultra-high-speed broadband Internet access has accelerated the rolling out of fibre networks closer to homes and offices.

In addition, operators increasingly seek to collect advertising revenue from the range of user-generated, social-networking and other content running on ever-higher speed broadband networks, dubbed “ultra broadband” or “broaderband” technology. At the same time, mobile operators are upgrading their networks to find new revenue streams fed by offers of seamless connectivity to bandwidth-intensive applications like mobile TV.