The Origins and Development

Understanding the origins and development of cross-sector infrastructure sharing

From the inception of commercial telecommunications, network operators sought to partner with owners of existing or planned network corridors and infrastructure to reduce costs and accelerate network rollout.

The telegraph and railroads paved the way for infrastructure sharing beginning in the mid-Nineteenth Century. The telephone followed the telegraph’s example in sharing road corridors and utility poles. Then, from the growing introduction of wireless communications in the mid-Twentieth Century onward, the demand for new lateral infrastructure eroded.

The advent of fiber optic cables and surging demand for bandwidth have renewed the need for infrastructure sharing in a competitive landscape. Fiber optics has become the new primary medium for every element of fixed networks and all elements of mobile networks except the link from radio tower to end user. By the mid-1980’s fiber optic installations had expanded rapidly all over the globe.

Cross-sector sharing has become a component of many national and multinational broadband development policies. Policy-makers, law-makers, and regulators increasingly seek to require or encourage infrastructure sharing to accelerate deployment, decrease costs, and enhance competition.



References and Resources:

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