Cisco Plots the Internet's Path

Consumers will pay for Internet connectivity in a much wider range of ways by 2025, according to a new report by Cisco and the Monitor Group's Global Business Network.

The report titled "The Evolving Internet" examines the driving forces and uncertainties that will shape the path of the Internet over the next 15 years.

Emerging Markets

The report discusses trends already under way that provide a common foundation for any scenario on the Internet's future. According to Enrique Rueda-Sabater, report co-author and Cisco's director of strategy and economics for emerging markets, the next two or three billion Internet users will be mostly in emerging markets and very different from the first two billion.

Rueda-Sabater said global business models and national policies will fail if they are based on old expectations of behaviour, preferences, and success.

Noting that it is difficult to predict the future, GBN cofounder and Monitor Partner Peter Schwartz, said the Internet-related choices being made in 2010 will have long-term consequences.

Sabater, a major contributor to the report, hopes these scenarios will foster a deeper strategic conversation in and across the technology and policy communities about the impact of today's decisions in the future.

Growth in the Internet-Related Market

According to the report, most growth in the Internet-related market will occur outside of today's high-income, or "advanced", economies. While global governance of the Internet will remain substantially unchanged, "digital natives" will relate to the Internet in significantly different ways than earlier generations.

The authors of the report say the QWERTY keyboard will not be the primary interface with the Internet after 15 years. There are going to be many uncertainties in the coming years and the interplay of these uncertainties can result in a large number of plausible scenarios for the Internet's path through 2025.

The report notes the changes will be affected by technology that continues to make connectivity and devices more affordable. Other factors are insecure growth due to relentless cyber attacks, prolonged economic stagnation in many countries taking its toll on the spread of the Internet, and capacity constraints for IP-based services.

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