monitored as indicators of change in the next several years. Table 5.1 presents the steering committee's broad conclusions about the technological capabilities—with respect to end-user access to services—of infrastructure that is likely to be deployed and available in the next 5 to 7 years. Some aspects of nomadicity, and of hardware and software technologies that enable information infrastructure, are implicit in table entries, but these topics are not fully summarized in the table. The remainder of the chapter provides supporting evidence and analysis.
The discussion assumes a very basic familiarity with several important information infrastructure technologies, such as hybrid fiber coaxial cable (hybrid fiber coax; HFC) architectures for residential broadband (high-data-rate) communications, integrated services digital network (ISDN) and other digital telephone services, wireless voice and data services, and broadcast television. Chapter 4 introduces these technologies in brief, discussing key issues underlying technical debates about deployment (for example, the capabilities of likely architectures for fiber-optic networks in residential areas). This chapter focuses on what is being deployed today, what plans have been announced, and what the overall capabilities of anticipated information infrastructure components will be. The decision to invest in deployment of infrastructure depends, of course, on an expectation of demand for services over that infrastructure. Accordingly, in addition to addressing deployment—the supply of infrastructure—this chapter also presents selected data on both current and projected demand for information infrastructure-related services. These data are drawn from a range of published government and private sources. Other economic and regulatory issues that affect investment prospects and timing of deployment are considered more fully in Chapters 3 and 6.
This chapter divides the topic of infrastructure into several broad categories: (1) infrastructure of wireline telephone carriers, including both the local access component and the backbone (long-distance) component; (2) data communications services carried over the wireline infrastructure; (3) wireline infrastructures for advanced services to the home being deployed by cable television and telephone companies; (4) on-line information services and Internet access; (5) wireless services, such as cellular telephony, personal communication service (PCS), and wireless data; and (6) broadcast services, including terrestrial and satellite television broadcasting and multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS, or wireless cable). These distinctions do not reflect industry boundaries as clearly as they once did, as restrictions on lines of business erode and mergers and alliances occur among the firms offering these services. Nevertheless, distinctions in the technological capabilities of these types of infrastructure remain important, and projections of their