Internet News Next Generation: The proposed CA * net 4 should give rise to a "network controlled by the user" (Customer-Empowered Networks or CEN). Can you explain this concept?
Bill St. Arnaud: With CA * net 4 is the end user who "owns, controls and manages the network. It may take an analogy with how the computer industry has evolved. In the 1960s, mainframe computers were operated by centralized organizations such as IBM. Users pay by the number of CPU cycles they consume, and the memory they used. But in the 1970s, initially in universities and research centers, people could "buy" a mini-computer and use it as they wished, without additional cost for the use. This has freed the centralized management of large mainframes, and marked the beginning of an era that has brought many innovations in hardware and software, such as Unix or graphical user interfaces for example.
The telecommunications industry today looks much like the computer industry in the 1960s. Users pay an operator for their use and the bandwidth they consume. The operator has total control of the network.
CA * net 4 is similar to the first mini-computer: instead of being invoiced and bandwidth use, the consumer takes possession of the network, it controls totally. He can do absolutely what he wants with the network. Rather than pay each time the user "buys" the network once and for all.
With "Empowered" must therefore mean "controlled by" and "belonging" to the user.
Imagine a world where you could just rent your house or apartment, and where the concept of ownership would not exist. The telecommunications world is here today - you can only pay monthly fees in exchange for a service. For the first time with CEN, the customer can "own" the network the same way he owns his house or his computer.
Internet News Next Generation: How does this work he, a technical point of view, and what are the differences with the commercial networks and current research?
Bill St. Arnaud: The key technology is the same. But the big difference is that all network elements and links are controlled individually by the user, rather than the carrier.