The centralization of network technology has created numerous pain points for consumers and industry alike. Here’s a look at some of their problems that cut across two different but related verticals: drone delivery and digital content delivery:

Consumers:

  • High cost
  • Poor service
  • Multiple bills
  • Limited content access
  • Limited access to new services

Industry:

  • High cost of last-mile delivery
  • Expensive, outdated technology
  • Large common carriers have no fiscal incentive to improve the situation
  • Consumers paint with a broad brush, dislike all providers

What consumers really want is an inexpensive and reliable method for connectivity and access to goods and services.  We want what we want, when we want it, for low cost.We want to use online networks for texting, social media, video and music content, games, internet browsing and voice calls.  And we want goods brought to us on demand at a reasonable price. While we have access to all these services today, we have become accustomed to a set of delivery mechanisms that are not in consumers’ best interests:

  • Consumers are forced to purchase connectivity from multiple providers who each want to provide a proprietary delivery channel into the home and maximize their individual revenue streams.
  • Consumers pay a high total cost for the combination of internet, phone, cellular, cable/satellite, and content streaming services.
  • Data usage is throttled back via cellular data usage charges and artificially imposed limits on internet bandwidth.
  • Poor customer service.
  • Internet and Cellular services providers do not ensure privacy of sensitive consumer information.

Consumers accept the current delivery model with all of its inherent flaws, mainly because we don’t understand that there are potential alternatives.

Consumers also want goods delivered timely, and for free. They are habituated to free, same- or next-day delivery and expect it no matter their location.

What Industry Wants:

Telecom companies have a great opportunity to disrupt their competitors. While they have the customer base and market reach to succeed, they face consumer apathy and the high cost of last mile networks.

They want adaptable last-mile technology that lets them deliver content directly to their customers, cutting out or minimizing the role of the common carriers.

They want to leverage their significant investments to date in fiber and other modernized infrastructure.

They want to shift their business models to become more competitive as the marketplace moves from emphasizing technology and infrastructure, to emphasizing seamless delivery of content and goods.

Delivery: Retailers want to simplify the last mile between them and consumers, for both content and physical goods. They want to leverage their existing physical infrastructure as well as maximize the efficiency of new infrastructure investments.

They want to use drones to meet consumer expectations for timely, free, delivery.

What industry doesn’t want: to pay >$500B to build delivery infrastructure—an investment so large will make their delivery business even more unprofitable.

To bring the wants and needs of industry and consumers together, we will need a low-cost, universal solution. Connectivity will need to be in every neighborhood, at a price that makes sense for both consumers and the industries that serve them.

To date, centralized networks have been less and less able to deliver this kind of connectivity. 5G promises more of the same: centralized infrastructure, this time at a very high price. Should we just stand by while monopolistic telecom companies make consumers the economic servants of this new infrastructure rollout?