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The world's service providers are at an important turning point. Broadband is becoming ubiquitous and commoditized; network operators are replacing legacy switching and routing gear with all-IP NGNs; both networks and computer hardware/software are being relentlessly virtualized; and services are increasingly delivered from the Web and the software that drives it. This massive multi-layered transformation poses one over-riding question: what is the role of service providers in the new world that is emerging? The paper believes that network and other service providers need a new strategic narrative that sets out a clear route they can follow in this new world. Their objective must be to become a central link in the value chain for the delivery of a myriad of services to end users.
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