The purpose of this report is to forecast the future (2016-2021) of the North American telecommunications network, and from that forecast to identify the major equipment needs to fulfill that forecast. There has been a great deal of turmoil in the area of telecommunications, much of it leading to spectacular changes and advances. Turmoil has been created by technological changes, by regulatory changes, by the development of new products and applications, by the introductions of new, or new flavors, of services, and by the entry of non-traditional competitors.
Because of this turmoil, consumers have much greater capabilities in the broad area of telecommunications than ever before. The reality has passed the fantasy in many ways: cell phones are more capable than Dick Tracys wrist radio, and more capable than Flash Gordons communicator.
This report will use the technique of asking the experts for their view of the future and then distilling from that input (some of which will be contradictory) a consistent, unified, organized view of the next five years of telecommunications in North America.
The first chapter will describe the survey that was used to "ask the experts." After that, the reader will be presented with several of the raw answers for the responders to the survey. It is intended to give the reader a first hand view of some of the material in the responders' words. Following the raw answers sample, the author will provide a summary and analysis of the answers and then the resulting forecast for the future of the network.
Finally, this general forecast will be used to provide specific equipment forecasts for this period. This will be accomplished by combining the Forecast of the Future Network that we have constructed with the Survey, with information about forecast of traffic demand and likely investment (supply). The report will thus produce detailed forecasts for the major types of equipment used in optical networks. A description of the makeup and function of each type of equipment will precede the forecast.