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Service Providers Get Appy

BALTIMORE, Md. -- The seemingly endless plummet of the stock market and a slowing global economy lurked behind every booth here at the IPSCon tradeshow. But Internet service providers and global telecom carriers alike stood tall when faced with questions about the deterioration of economics in their industry.

In fact, several service providers pointed to the same themes driving their optimism: Growth in new data applications will save their butts -- and make up in volume for the falling prices of both voice and data traffic on their networks.

Leaders at several service providers pointed to the history of data services, in which temporary bandwidth gluts were almost always used up by advancing applications.

"In the 1980s we were told that we've never be able to fill up our first private transatlantic cable," says Alan Coe, a senior regional vice president with Cable & Wireless (NYSE: CWP). "We filled it up. As prices decline, the applications change and people always find an application to fill it up."

In fact, the hope is concentrated on two broadband applications: enterprise data storage services and popular Internet-based consumer applications like Napster. The hope that these emerging broadband applications will continue to drive bandwidth demand was a common theme at the show, which brings together a collection of Internet service providers (ISPs), telecom carriers, and software and hardware vendors.

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