I received the rather sporadic newsletter from Mammoth Networks today. While reading it, I noticed that the evolution of Mammoth is very similar to many other ISPs.
"Like most early adopters of broadband, Mammoth Networks started with DSL as our only product. We focused our efforts from 2005 to 2009 on our DSL and ATM platform, sprinkling T1s into the network at times."
In 1999, DSL was the rage with Rhythms, Covad (now Megapath) and Northpoint all having billion dollar IPOs. New Edge Networks (now EarthLink) is still a big DSL player, since not every business needs 50MB of broadband.
"In 2008, we embraced Ethernet and started down the path of Ethernet standardization. We built NNIs with numerous carriers and honed our Ethernet skills over the next few years. By 2012, Ethernet represented the majority of our business." Ethernet has taken off. No one enjoyed buying T1 and T3 WICs for their routers and trying to figure out the right configuration and timing. Ethernet is just a more universal protocol to deal with.
Also, many CLEC's - including AireSpring - used NNI's to stitch together networks, since back in the day, LATAs were still a territory defining term.
"Today, DSL represents only 15% of Mammoth's business. It is a platform we actively support with more than 30 ATM DS3s, OC3s and OC12s. Over the past couple of years, we have seen an increasing trend of ISPs bulk moving their DSLs into our network in order to rid themselves of a fixed cost network. Mammoth will continue to provide this valuable resource to ISPs as they transition their networks." I have seen 2 trends - build out CO's to own the network (and control the services the CLEC will deliver) or stick with resell, move to a wholesaler and try to exploit synergies. (That there is a banker's term :)
Now Gigabit Broadband is booming (largely due to Google), powered by FTTX networks being built by, well, everyone. Municipalities, TWC, C-Link, ATT, Google and many independent service providers.
Along with Ethernet and Fiber rings comes MPLS or some form of VPN or private networking. That is the evolution of many ISPs. Not the top ISPs, but all of the regional independents. I wish the anti-Big Box movement in retail would hit the ISP market. Maybe someday.
Wireless ISPs may be in trouble. "In a rulemaking, the Federal Communications Commission wants to amend Part 15 of FCC rules governing the operation of Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices in the 5 GHz band (5.15-5.35 GHz and 5.47-5.825 GHz), reducing maximum device power to provide greater protection against interference." [source]