An indirect consequence of the traditionally high levels of funding for research by the Bell System and by its progeny has been modest attention to telecommunications in academia compared to many other areas of information and communications technology. Since almost every aspect of telecommunications was provided by monopoly carriers (both in the United States and abroad), it was difficult to create viable telecommunications courses in academia and to attract professors who were knowledgeable about the changing telecommunications environment.
More recently, corporate investment in academic work has been quite modest and confined largely to a few successful consortium research programs that have attracted industry support and have also, in some cases, been funded by state initiatives. Several state programs, notably in California and Georgia,26 support academic telecommunications research and interactions with industry.
Another challenge in teaching telecommunications or carrying out a relevant research program in universities is that the facilities and resources at academic institutions are not adequate to address the architectural and operational issues of large-scale telecommunications networks. Since there has never been any pressure or financial incentive to create the resources
and infrastructure for such research (since these have traditionally and historically been the domain of the monopoly carriers), most university researchers have opted instead to focus on core technologies like semiconductors, computing, signal processing, and communication theory, where meaningful research can be done at a much smaller scale with fewer resources, and where both industry and government have been more willing to provide the support needed to create long-range academic programs.
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