The year 2000 is swiftly approaching and, with all the expectations it brings, many telcos are gearing up to provide telecommunications networks that will satisfy the majority of demands that new feature-rich applications will place upon them. To some people, supporting application requirements for a telecommunications netwrok might mean adding more intelligence to the network. Others may crave to transmit data at faster speeds, communicate more freely on the move, or be able to mix and match the appropriate network infrastructure as they, or their applications, choose to do so. These diverse application requirements are shaping the strategies being pursued by telcos to deliver integrated telecommunications networks for the next millennium.
After looking back at some of the developments taking place within the broadband and network intelligence domains, this paper summarises some of the application and service requirements that must be addressed when building future telecommunications networks. From the plethora of technical proposals aimed at developing the necessary environment to fulfil these requirements, this article explores the alternatives. Of course, for all of these alternative routes there will be many questions, technical or otherwise, that yet remain unanswered. Some of these issues will be discussed and various options will be considered to provoke thought or socialise possible solutions.