The future scenario presented in this article offers a view of true facilities‐based competition in 2010. By this date, the continued investment in infrastructure development had ensured an increased rate in bandwidth provision and gradual extension of broadband service to the home across the USA, while end point technologies and conduits to the desktop proliferated. This scenario envisions two types of entrants: new forward‐thinking green‐field entrepreneurs and facilities owners who had previously not been involved in the communications provision (eg gas, water, electrical utilities). The main conclusion of the article is a recognition that competition requires open standards and interoperability. Facilities‐based competition requires clearly defined interface points where new competitors can connect customers. In this scenario two physical points of interconnection (at the curb and at the IXC/IAP) are envisioned. A policy prediction which is embedded in the scenario as an enabler of open interconnection is that economic necessity spurs democratic leaders to shorten the extension of copyright, and declare overly broad software patents void. An understated assumption is that political and economic leaders address the conflicts between information as property, as privacy (private information), and as speech (political information) in a timely and balanced manner. Luckily only the provision of interconnection is necessary for the scenario to be feasible. The well‐noted reality that the information industry will not approach its potential until issues of security, reliability and privacy are adequately addressed underlies this scenario. Some battles will remain in 2010: concepts of ownership and autonomy with respect to information adequate to the information revolution are being challenged by the genetics revolution.
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