Out with the old, in with the new. Communication is all about connecting people and information, and we’ve come a long way from telegraphy and operator-assisted telephones. Digital telecommunications now delivers that life-blood information we receive on a daily basis—news, Internet, voice calling and entertainment.
Author Ronald Fulle discusses the history and evolution of the telecommunications industry through the new millennium in his new book, Telecommunications History & Policy into the 21st Century, published by RIT Press at Rochester Institute of Technology.
“This is a book for academics who teach a course in telecommunications policy, but it’s also for anyone involved in the telecommunications and networking arena who want to get a good understanding of the history and how we arrived where we are today, and a little bit of a ‘crystal ball’ look at where we are going,” says Fulle, associate professor in the Telecommunications Engineering Technology program at RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. “I wrote it because ever since the Internet bubble burst in 2001, it has been difficult to find a great telecom policy textbook.”
Fulle knows the industry well. He previously worked as an executive with AT&T and Bell System Companies for more than 25 years before starting a second career at RIT in 1998—teaching many of the disciplines that he has worked on and experienced in the industry. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from the State University of New York and holds an M.S. in telecommunications from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“In the beginning, communication included messages sent with just one thought in mind, like a simple signal fire in ancient Greece,” he explains. “Now we have multiple thoughts delivered at the speed of light via multi media. The major determinants of these changes in communications are technology, policy including regulation and law, market forces and security.”
In his book, Fulle includes business case studies on Rochester-area-based companies: PAETEC Communications Inc., Finger Lakes Technologies Group, Ontario and Trumansburg Telephone and Fibertech Networks.
So what does the future hold?
“In the short term there will be more and more wireless. Eventually companies like AT&T and Verizon will find their wireless markets are saturated and they will have to come up with means of growth other than minutes of use—the iPhone, the Droid and their Apps may help,” Fulle notes.
“There will be much more focus on the consumer,” he says. “I predict within the next decade we’ll see fiber optics-enabled neighborhoods.
“It will add a new twist to where you live; those who don’t live in the fiber-enabled neighborhood will become the ‘have nots’ of the future unless there is some ‘wild card’ technological breakthrough that will provide for wireless bandwidth availability on par with fiber.”
Telecommunications History and Policy into the 21st Century is available online for $34.99 or by calling RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press at 585-475-6766.
Note: RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press and its new imprint, RIT Press, are scholarly publishing enterprises at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Press is associated with the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection, one of the country’s premier libraries on the history and practice of printing.