Rethinking Wireless Broadband Platforms

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Executive Summary

A platform network is an integrated high-capacity general-purpose network. The platform model dominates the market for wired broadband services, reducing the amount of infrastructure required and enabling rapid deployment of new services. It argues that wireless broadband is fundamentally different from wired broadband in ways that limit the benefits of platform networks. Instead, for both technical and economic reasons, wireless broadband services have developed as converged aggregations of heterogeneous specialized wireless networks. This design is optimal given that the primary constraint on broadband services is capacity due to limited spectrum allocations and other effects. In the following, it explains why it is a mistake to view wireless broadband services as embodying or growing toward the platform network model.

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