I am very proud to be introducing this special issue of Capacity, which celebrates the magazine’s 10th anniversary.
As a very new editor – my seat has barely warmed up yet – this issue has provided me with a fascinating insight into the tumultuous events of the last decade, which have certainly featured some extreme highs and lows. I know that many of you have witnessed these events for yourselves, and indeed have remained loyal readers of Capacity throughout. I, and everyone on the team, hopes that this issue helps you to recapture memories (some happier than others, no doubt) and places the issues you are doubtless tackling today into some sort of perspective.
The overweening ambition and boundless anticipation which suffused telecoms 10 years ago barely seem recognisable in today’s much more cautious markets. We can only marvel now at the levels of investment and the funds which were made available to businesses. But Enron is now a watchword for caution, as are the many telcos that found themselves subject to Chapter 11 bankruptcy or takeover during this period. We all hope that we have learned the lessons from such ungrounded speculation, but our current markets remain none too certain. Many – indeed, most – telcos are struggling to maintain profit levels from voice services; and while the demand for data services is rising exponentially, the amount customers are prepared to pay for them is not...
There are, of course, new areas of growth. Requirements for capacity and connectivity in regions such as the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the CIS regions are growing. Investment in technology is still as important as ever, demonstrated by the inexorable move towards next-generation 40Gb and 100Gb networks, which will support the ultra-high bandwidth requirements of data communications that forms the backbone of the internet. But such investments are now made in a more realistic business context. In addition, many telcos are now actively looking to other business opportunities to broaden their portfolios, examining the benefits of a new generation of services such as virtualisation, cloud platforms, data storage and the content delivery market.
While today’s telcos generally stand on less uncertain ground than their predecessors 10 years ago, a strong commercial perspective is absolutely essential for those businesses planning to survive, and thrive, for another 10 years. We will watch the coming years with interest.