CSPs are optimistic about the changes AI will bring to networks

A survey of telecom and IT engineers working within communications service providers showed an optimism for the role AI will have on network performance and monetisation in the future.

Andrew Wooden

May 22, 2024

2 Min Read

The research was conducted by Ciena and Censuswide, and surveyed over 1,500 telecom and IT engineers and managers at CSPs in 17 countries. 60% of believed AI will improve network operational efficiency by 40% or more, while 85% expressed confidence in CSPs’ ability to monetise AI traffic across networks (‘very confident’ and ‘somewhat confident’ answers were combined).

The participants believe new solutions across fibre network infrastructure and operations will be required for AI to enhance network performance, claims the release. The most popular strategies for doing this are listed as upgrading networks with new traffic and network analysis software (selected by 49% of respondents), upgrades in switches and routers (43%), and investment in 800G technology (40%). Meanwhile 99% believe they will need to upgrade fibre-optic networks to support more AI traffic.

In terms of avenues to generate revenue from AI, 40% believed it will come from opening their networks to third-party integrations, while 37% said revenue will come from security and privacy services, 37% listed new product offerings, 35% the creation of tailored subscription packages, and 34% listed differentiation on quality of service for connectivity.

Those surveyed believe the sectors that will generate the most AI traffic and revenue opportunities are financial services (46%), followed by media and entertainment (43%), and manufacturing (38%).

“Understanding emerging technologies like AI is an essential step toward staying competitive in today’s constantly changing digital landscape,” said Jürgen Hatheier, Ciena’s International Chief Technology Officer. “The survey highlights the optimistic long-term outlook of CSPs regarding AI’s ability to enhance the network as well as the need for strategic planning and investments in infrastructure and expertise to fully realize the benefits.”

One of the biggest public panics around AI is whether it will end up leaving huge swathes of the workforce out of a job, as an increasing amount of tasks become automated by progressively sophisticated systems. The majority of those surveyed here seemed to be of another view however, with 67% of CSPs anticipating AI to be a force for job creation, and identifying cybersecurity, machine learning, and programming/coding as areas of expertise necessary for developing and launching the AI services.

That still leaves plenty of career paths outside of the tech bubble that could end up being ransacked by AI tools in the years to come, but we can always hope that the general optimism expressed in this survey plays out.  


About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins Telecoms.com on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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