Terminal equipment will handle voice, data, and images with equal ease.
Most telephones will tie into digital devices.
Most computers will be connected into networks.
Integrated voice, data, and image (such as facsimile) work stations capable of handling all three transmissions will be widespread.
Some (as yet unquantified) number of residences in the United States will have remotely addressable, intelligent computing devices—many in telephones or television sets.
Huge databases of primarily alphanumeric content will be everywhere.
Image databases (of photographs, catalogs, libraries, and so forth) will be propagating rapidly.
A combination of high-capacity transmission with terminal equipment of low cost and high compression will allow full-motion, interactive video transmission in many areas.
Long-haul fiber transmission will be pervasive.
The public network will be a multivendor, multidevice, multi-application interconnection of networks.
As discussed earlier, the “intelligent network” and “open architecture” concepts will spur the delivery of customized services to government and commercial users. To provide these services, future networks will store pertinent information associated with a wide variety of calls—for example, call priority—in remote, centralized databases. Thus, a call’s unique line circuit and address information will no longer be stored in the central-office switch. In the event that database access is cut off, call information will be unobtainable, and circuits dedicated to emergency use would thus be unavailable. To remedy this defect, future network architectures will have to incorporate a feature which, after database failure, defaults line circuits to general-purpose use.
Integrated voice, data, and image applications will be in use by the majority of residential, small and large business, and institutional subscribers. The U.S. information infrastructure in the year 2000 will include most of the following characteristics.