It’s All About The Network, Right?

By Dan Foster, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, MegaPath Inc.

As you’re reading this now, as I wrote it, as we exist today, we’re connected – by 100mbps, a distant satellite, or wireless smart phones. Electric service transformed the 20th century, and how quickly we adapted. For the majority of us, the network is on the cusp of being taken for granted. Let’s face it – we notice how different the little things are when we lack high-speed connection.

On that note, last year my family rented a Sierras ski house that lacked cell phone coverage, but had high-speed cable with Wi-Fi. This year our condo has 802.11 – AT&T cell phone coverage (no, not 3G!), but it lacks Internet within even 802.11x range. And that’s a real difference when you can skip out on cell coverage (and send work calls directly to voice mail), but benefit from unlimited surfing. This year, my holiday vacation included taking calls from my boss, or being on conference calls, but without the luxury of Internet access. True, I wasn’t multitasking for a change (besides making a PB&J lunch while on mute), but otherwise I was focused. Gotta say, I do prefer my Ethernet over telephone service!

Ubiquity of the network is not quite there, even as we begin 2010. In fact, less than 25 percent of people across the globe have internet access, and across developed countries that number jumps, to include about 75 percent of North America. As someone in this 75 percent majority, doesn’t it make you wonder about how the other 25 percent is performing basic functions? I’m not being high-brow here – this is a “’think about it” sort of question. How are they checking on kids’ homework assignments? How are their kids talking to friends (assuming your kid, too, pays most attention to texts and e-mails). Where does the penetration end? Sure, the federal government’s broadband stimulus aims to bring the network to 100 percent of Americans, but some experts say that may still not be complete in this decade.

Today, as you relax and read this post, remember that Internet usage is rising, and of course, your customers demand more of it. With compression algorithms for VoIP and bandwidth optimization packages from vendors like Silver Peak and Riverbed, they assert that more bandwidth is not the answer. Tell that to my friend, who as the partner in a law firm, requires his team to allocate bandwidth because they simply can’t get enough. Their location prevents it. So here in the 21st century, a successful law practice is metering internet use? Sure, unless they want to pay several thousand of dollars a month for access! Who wants to bet my friend won’t have that issue by the end of the decade? Meet you in Vegas next month to check the odds!

Dan Foster is the chief sales and marketing officer at MegaPath Inc., where he manages the company’s sales, marketing and channel organizations. He has been instrumental in driving MegaPath’s rapid growth to become the leading provider of managed IP communications services in North America with 20,000 customers. Over the course of his career, Foster has helped to grow successful companies and channel organizations while CEO and president at Phoenix Networks and as vice president of consumer markets at Rhythms NetConnections. He received dual engineering and liberal arts degrees from Tufts University and graduated from Harvard Business School’s executive PMD program.He also is a member of the 2009-10 PHONE+/Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.

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