Sponsored By

Use Open Platforms or Die, Adtran Tells TelcosUse Open Platforms or Die, Adtran Tells Telcos

Broadband equipment vendor urges operators to back open source platform initiatives or risk going out of business.

Iain Morris

October 19, 2016

3 Min Read
Use Open Platforms or Die, Adtran Tells Telcos

Telcos that fail to take advantage of new open source platforms might not be around in the next ten years, according to a senior executive from broadband equipment vendor Adtran.

Speaking at today's Broadband World Forum in London, Ronan Kelly, Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN)'s chief technology officer for the EMEA and APAC regions, warned service providers they risk suffering a similar fate to the handset businesses of BlackBerry and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) unless they adapt to new market realities.

Finland's Nokia famously quit the handset market in 2014, when it sold its handset business to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), while BlackBerry announced it September that it would stop making devices.

Both organizations were decimated by the entry of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) into the handset arena, and Kelly thinks service providers are now under the same kind of threat from so-called over-the-top (OTT) players that have taken a platform-based approach to the market.

Lauding the efforts of open source networking groups such as CORD and Open Daylight, Kelly said operators could take advantage of technologies like SDN and NFV that have "emanated" from the web-scale Internet companies. "We have bodies helping to standardize this so that it doesn't end up like the Wild West and that way we'll get network effects and ensure developers can secure a return for their efforts," he said.

Kelly also singled out the work of the The New IP Agency , a not-for-profit group that has been carrying out interoperability tests on NFV products from a number of different vendors.

Adtran is hardly the first organization to focus attention on open source -- which has fast become a buzz-phrase in the industry -- but Kelly's examples of other businesses that have been disrupted by the emergence of platform players should make operators sit up and take notice.

The rollout of gigabit broadband access networks is spreading. Find out what's happening where in our dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel here on Light Reading.

The impact that Uber and Airbnb have had on the taxi and hotel industries respectively illustrates how quickly change can occur. Blockbuster Inc. , a DVD rentals business that once had 9,000 stores worldwide, has all but disappeared since being knocked off its perch by Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), notes Kelly.

Telcos need to act now, he says, because of the transition that is occurring as next-generation access technologies are introduced into commercial networks. "Access technologies tend to move in generations and the key thing is that each of those generations usually lasts a decade," said Kelly. "If you miss the opportunity to define open then you will be locked out for another decade before you can bring the innovation you need to compete with the OTTs."

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like