Folks at the IIA Internet Innovation Alliance have issued a fantastic infographics proving very simply how Broadband helps creating/sustaining/developping jobs everywhere it's available.
Folks at the IIA Internet Innovation Alliance have issued a fantastic infographics proving very simply how Broadband helps creating/sustaining/developping jobs everywhere it's available.
On Friday, Google closed its call on its initiative on ultra-broadband open access networks. According to James Kelly, Google Fiber Product Manager (what a cool job title !), more than 1,100 communities and 194,000 individuals have submitted a response to the bid. James doesn't tell much about the applicants, giving just a couple of links to fancy stuff on YouTube or Facebook. We'll have to wait a little bit to get all the names, and, more importantly, the happy few cities who'll get the chance to experiment Google Fiber.
For the time being, we must dig the Net to find out some concrete data. As such, Martin of Zettaphile.com has put together an exhaustive list of those communities, which contains some well known cities, e.g. Anchorage, AK, Tempe, AZ, Berkeley, CA, etc. Also, Tim Poulus built his own list where we can see that Palo Alto has apparently decided to apply to Google Fiber as well.
The list of small communities in Rural America who
applied to Google' s RFI is just impressive. Asheville, North Carolina,
has launched a viral marketing campaign here, including a useful blog which tracks the news about the
collectivities seeking for Google's help. Also in NC, Greensboro is
looking for its House M.D. Their Googlegrensboro website
is just gorgeous.
Nevertheless, two elements in James's blog post are of concern to me. First, this sentence about the responses : "all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities": no word on open neutral access here. Then, the map at the end of the post : beside the fact that it's not an interactive one (ever heard of Google Maps, James ? ;-), there's something which rings a bell to me.
When you look at this map, the evidence is that people don't want Google Fiber per se. They want Broadband, full stop. As everybody knows, the US Government has publicly announced it National Broadband Plan last week. See the official video here, and download the full document here (dear Wisconsin's readers, be patient : 11.50MB ;-). Just compare the actual maps listing the current pending or granted awards (thanks to Rob Powell of Telecoms Ramblings for the heads up) with the Google Fiber's one : it's almost the same. That means most of the people consider the Mountain View giant as another communications services provider, at the same level than a Verizon or an AT&T or a ComCast.
The problem is : Google doesn't position itself as a services provider. To better understand my point, let's read Google Fiber statement again - full text here :
Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better, and faster for everyone. Here are some specific things that we have in mind:
- Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive "killer apps" and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.
- New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fiber networks; to help inform, and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.
- Openness and choice: We'll operate an "open access" network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory, and transparent way.
Google will be a operators' s operator, of the same kind than what we already enjoy here in Europe with the Reggefibers type of Open Neutral Access providers. When you see this flash mob organized by some hungry guys in Columbia, Missouri, you doubt they've got it right.
My guess is that the majority of the individuals who have called on Google Fiber have done it for the very same reasons people here in France called on their local govs some years ago: they live in a Broadband deadzone, as those French peers were living in a DSL black hole ("ADSL White Zone" as we call it ). No matter who provides the service and how, people just want their broadband connection at home, to watch HDTV without glitches and upload their family's photos faster.
The best example of this quest comes from the city of Peoria, Illinois. Their call is all about speed. Nothing on the benefits on the local economy through the creation of new services thus new jobs, nothing on the benefits of Open Neutral Access at large.
"Think big with a gig" is Google Fiber's motto. I'm afraid 80% of the 1,100 communities actually think small thanks to their geeks. I sincerely wish James and his team good luck with the review of the responses, hoping they will come up with one or two truly groundbreaking projects.
post-scriptum : since Fibergeneration is well indexed by Google' s engines, I know this post is set to appear quickly on top of James' s alerts. So, here's my advice, dear James : you may want to investigate what a few furious guys have achieved somewhere in South-West of France with the Pau Broadband Country FTTH muni network. To get started, click here.
Yesterday, french telcos Orange and SFR announced their co-investment on two suburban towns in the "Greater Paris" (french joke) area, to roll-out FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home. They also announced the possible creation of an open joint-venture that would serve as operators' s operator for medium dense areas.
Of course, this is a smart move, considering the Fiber-Broadband plan to be unveiled by the government on Monday the 18th of January. No need to sport an MBA to understand that France Telecom and SFR have set up a nice trick to get public funding in order to build their own next-gen access networks.
Now, it may be useful to get back a few months ago, and read this post and this one written by Jean-Michel Soulier, CEO of french-canadian operators' operator Covage. Here's what Jean-Michel proposed before the whole attendance at the yearly forum held by Regulator ARCEP last September.
- the territory could be split in 4-5 segments representing approximately 1m households each in semi-dense areas (this assumes that private initiative will cover dense areas, which according to operator Free is easier said than done).- a national consortium would be set up with the largest operators and the French national bank CDC. The consortium would in turn establish a subsidiary in each of the territorial segments. - In each segment, a neutral operator would be selected for the deployment and operation of the FTTH network, in association with the local communities willing to participate in exchange for some ownership in the network. - the large operators, as members of the national consortium, would commit to use the consortium's FTTH lines in order to guaranty the business case and the ability to raise additional financing.
That is a simple plan, quite easy to implement, and above all: it ensures Open Neutral Access.
Which Orange-SFR public-money-vacuum-cleaner new venture surely won't.
I was the only French, together with Roland Montagne of IDATE, to speak at the conference, which was pretty much held by the "Dutch Connection" ! A piece of evidence that the Open Neutral Access approach is still not a standard thinking here in France...
Actually, I was supposed to be part of two panels : the one on Muni Fiber, and the one on new cabling techniques. I must admit : due to my hectic agenda over the last few weeks and my current focus on Rural Broadband, I totally forgot the second point and did only prepare the first. I realized my mistake... the morning before the panels, scheduled in late afternoon !
By chance, Hassan Clausen, Managing Director of HanseCom and organizer of the event understood pretty well the situation, and let me withdraw from the New Cabling stuff, which gave him the opportunity to get 3 speakers at each panel. I'm glad my mistake finally allowed Uffe Mogensen, CEO of GM Plast, to deliver a fantastic presentation on micro-trenching techniques.
So, as planned, I did present the Bottom-Up approach for deploying Fiber in Rural areas. To start with, I explained why the usual way of deploying municipal Fiber-To-The-Home networks in France is never satisfying for the citizens - see Pau Broadband Country or Gonfreville-l'Orcher : as the people were not involved in the project at the very beginning, they are to reject it quickly as soon as something goes wrong.
That's where the "Top-Down" strategy fails. Enters the "Bottom-Up" approach : help the people solve a real problem in their daily life - what we B2B marketeers call "the customer' s pain", and go a step beyond by offering them something else on top of the solution used to fix this problem. Work with them to define the solution, work with them to test and implement it. Doing so, you will get the citizens adopt the solution, as they are part of its design' process.
The first question is: is there an Open Neutral Access Fiber nearby ? If the answer is "No", then... well, look for alternatives (which are not part of this discussion, sorry !). If the answer is "Yes", then the next question is: can Fiber help solving the problem ?. If the answer is "No", bad luck for me (and you, BTW ;-). If the answer is "Yes", then let's work it out with the customer, er., the Citizens.
That's the Bottom-Up approach for deploying FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home, starting by the Church. Why the church ? Simply because in each and every small city or village out there, there's a church - or a synagog, or a mosque, or a temple, whatever religious construction that is (or was...) the heart of your town, with active social life around, e.g. a pub, a grocery store, a book store... The idea is that simple : get the Fiber to the very heart of your village, and get the people build a community around it. They will adopt the project, because they will be part of it, playing an active role.
Actually, that's nothing new. Think of the Web 2.0 stuff: how did all those famous startups which we all know today, the Facebooks, the Twitters, the YouTubes, proceed at the beginning ? Got an idea, test it among a bunch of buddies, then once the idea went polished enough, extend the testing phase to a larger audience, who will help fixing the bugs and adding new features, then launch the product publicly. And still keep their users onboard by creating a true community spirit. There's no difference with what Seth Godin, the iconic Marketing guru of the Blogosphere, calls the Tribe.
In the business, how do you get customers to use your product ? You do evangelize them, right ? Here, with Municipal Fiber-To-The-Home networks, all we need to do is the same. Hence the Church.
Let me evangelize you. Here is the presentation, available for download on Slideshare. I give three examples of actual projects based on this bottom-up approach.
Disclaimer : I'm currently working as a consultant for two of those municipalities: Montmirail and La Grande Paroisse. The two projects are ongoing, both in the preliminary phase of network design and definition of the first targets (low-investments, boot-strapping...). The project concerning Val d'Isere has not been approved yet - we just started the discussions a couple of weeks ago.Guy Jarvis is doing in the UK with his FibreStream organization, or Frans-Anton Vermast of i-NEC in the Netherlands and elsewhere (interview by Costas Troulos of Broadband Prime here). Although this kind of spirit is not that common here in France, I'm convinced that involving the people right from the beginning of a project as big as bringing fiber to their home is the only way to go when public money (means your taxes and mine) is at stake. Frans Anton has found a nice tweak to the FTTH acronym in the Municipalities environment : FFTH, Fiber FROM The Home...
Amen, and Carpe Diem ;-)
Yesterday in Paris, the French Government gathered the ICT community for the first seminar of the series on the Stimulus plan (link in french). The agenda of the day: where, when and how to invest into the Digital Economy.
Of course, Fiber Broadband was one of *the* topics of the day. The opening session has been quite interesting, with several key actors - the Prime Minister, two former Prime Ministers, Ministers, Senators, operators - claiming that if France is to be "fibered", than it must be the whole country, meaning Rural areas as well.
Mr. Yves Le Mouël, President of the French Telcos Federation (comprising all of them but Illiad-Free), used an expression which I find pretty accurate: "in the villages, we must bring Fiber up to the Church."
Starting today, I declare " FTTCh Fiber-To-The-Church " to be the new motto of us Rural Broadband activists.
I will participate to the Governmental Seminar "Digital: Invest Today For Tomorrow's Growth", to be held in Paris tomorrow Thursday the 10th of September.
I hope that live-tweeting will be allowed... and technically feasible ;-)
At the Broadband World Forum Europe, which opened its doors yesterday in Paris, a small Canadian firm is making the buzz. Genesis (what a cool name ;-) Technical Systems (slightly less appealing ;-), aka GenesisTechSys, is unveiling its Bonded DSL Rings™ (BDR) solution. A patent-pending access technology, BDR re-uses the existing copper plant to deliver up to 400Mbps of bandwidth.
As Stephen Cooke, President & CTO, describes it, BDR uses each house as an regenerator for the next connected one. So to speak, as with Skype: more users means more bandwidth available for the community.
According to Stephen, Bonded DSL Rings™ is to leave the labs early next year, for the first field trials by mid-2010. For the time being, the only data at our disposal is available on GenesisTechSys website, with the FAQs here.
BDR seems to be an interesting option for Rural Broadband: able to provide Peer-to-Peer, Open Neutral Access on existing infrastructure, for an investment way lower than Fiber - Genesis claims 1/100th the cost of fiber in rural areas, so let's be conservative and say BDR costs 1/10th of FTTH : I know lots of local authorities in France who would sign the tender right now...
Anyhow, this announcement should ring two bells in a Telecoms veteran' s mind (like me, got it ? ;-). First, BDR proves once again that Copper is not dead, although Fiber is going further each day everywhere around the Planet. Copper-based access networks are here for the next 20 years, thanks to some big surprises coming from newcomers like Genesis.
Second, speaking of newcomers : let's hope we are not witnessing a new Silk Road type of adventure. This time, there are people at the other end of the line...
I will run the half day pre-conference workshop on 4th November: "Dark Fibre essentials: introductory guide".
I will also contribute, either as a speaker or a panelist, to the "Trends in Dark Fibre deployment in Rural areas" session on Day One, and to the "Technical maturity status and economics of 40 and 100 Gigabit deployment" session on Day Two. Lots of things to share there...
Shall you be attending as well or in town at this period of time, feel free to drop me a tweet. I'd love to discuss with you Fiber Broadband matters ;-)
Registration for the Dark Fibre Convention here.
post-scriptum : The Broad Group is one of the few events organizers I know who's really looking after Climate changes. That makes the DF Convention even more interesting to follow.
This morning in Aurillac, in the very hardcore of Rural France, Mr Michel Mercier, the new Minister of Rural Areas and Regional Planning, has simply made the most exciting announcement I've heard this year so far about Fiber Broadband' matters: by the end of September this year, the French Government will unveil its plan for ultra-broadband access to everyone. The plan is held by the Prime Minister, and will involved the collectivities / local authorities as well as the telecoms operators.
More in the days to come...
UPDATE 08/28/09 : Buddy Blogger Benoit Felten, aka "François" on the other side of the Ocean, has posted a link to the pretty interesting note published by Mr. Jean-Michel Soulier, the new head of french-canadian operators' s operator Covage.
In his note, Jean-Michel unveils the call he received from the french government for participation to the future "Ultra-Broadband To Everyone" Public consortium which will deploy FTTH in medium density areas. Pushing the idea of Open Access, Jean-Michel also discloses to us his response :
I like the first criteria: Open Access must be guaranteed. That's exactly what I tweeted (in french, sorry) when I heard the announcement by Mr. Mercier: if Telcos are to fund this initiative, how about Open Neutral Access ? That is the main number one top most critical issue on this "Ultra-Broadband To Everyone" matter: we as citizens and consumers can't afford suffering the same situation than with DSL (when you have access to it...): being tied up with a services provider.
Think out of the TriplePlay box. I don't want Orange to sell me Personal Care services, simply because they are not suited for that: to start with, they don't have the right Technical Support structure for such mission-critical services. Anyone asking Orange for an ADSL line or using their Call Center those days will agree with me: it's a pure nightmare, proving that France Telecom is not really looking after the satisfaction of its customers. Therefore, I would never ever give them the ability to deliver me services such as e-Health or Tele-surveillance: questionable reliability, hence a lack of 100% trust & confidence. This is FT-Orange, so you can imagine what's about its rivals, the SFRs and Frees: no better.
FTTH doesn't mean HD/3D-TV. It's means a dumb pipe able to carry any type of data at any rate comprised between 1bps to 1Gbps and even higher. Think Sustainable Development for one: data sent by remote/dispatched sensors, SmartGrid, renewable energies sources 's monitoring, etc. Do you think your Telco is really able to provide you with such services ?...
The Pau Broadband Country Fiber-To-The-Home network is truly *the* model for Muni FTTH. Here's one example, which I like to share with people in the Governmental sphere those days, in regards of the famous Hadopi law. Just a few months after the launch of the network back in 2005, the 2.5Gbit/s high-speed links between Pau and Paris' Telehouse hubs became almost overloaded. In the upstream direction. Traffic analysis demonstrated that Gen Y fellows and geeks of all sorts were uploading gigabytes of more or less legal stuff: music, video, software, everything that makes Vuze and the likes so fun to use... With the remarkable increase of fiber subscribers since begin 2008, an upgrade of these Pau-Paris links was mandatory. 10Gbit/s is now on its way. That makes the distance between the two cities totally transparent, allowing ultra-high speed communications for businesses who run operations in Pau, Paris, and elsewhere in the World, for instance... San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Guess what: since empty space is a scarce resource in Paris, new datacenters are popping up outside the capital city. One the very few towns out there able to host Green datacenters: Pau. Pau has all the know-how, skills and legitimacy to offer such high-tech facilities. Here's the beauty of the story: It is because of a band of young guys are playing with the law that Pau can host new businesses in a booming sector. If you are looking for a business model which works, here's one: let the Gen Y play at will.
The Pau Broadband Country Fiber-To-The-Home network is truly *the* model for Muni FTTH. Here's one example, which I like to share with people in the Governmental sphere those days, in regards of the famous Hadopi law.
Just a few months after the launch of the network back in 2005, the 2.5Gbit/s high-speed links between Pau and Paris' Telehouse hubs became almost overloaded. In the upstream direction. Traffic analysis demonstrated that Gen Y fellows and geeks of all sorts were uploading gigabytes of more or less legal stuff: music, video, software, everything that makes Vuze and the likes so fun to use...
With the remarkable increase of fiber subscribers since begin 2008, an upgrade of these Pau-Paris links was mandatory. 10Gbit/s is now on its way. That makes the distance between the two cities totally transparent, allowing ultra-high speed communications for businesses who run operations in Pau, Paris, and elsewhere in the World, for instance... San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.
Guess what: since empty space is a scarce resource in Paris, new datacenters are popping up outside the capital city. One the very few towns out there able to host Green datacenters: Pau. Pau has all the know-how, skills and legitimacy to offer such high-tech facilities. Here's the beauty of the story: It is because of a band of young guys are playing with the law that Pau can host new businesses in a booming sector. If you are looking for a business model which works, here's one: let the Gen Y play at will.
Pau Broadband Country FTTH by the numbers:
Which means a total investment by each and every citizen of the Pau Greater Area of 143.00 EUR over 15 years.
In other words: less than 10 euros per year over 15 years, to get the most advanced Fiber-To-The-Home network in Southern Europe (which starts south of Frankfurt ;-) and help the creation of hundreds of new jobs in new industries. Who said FTTH has to be expensive ?...
post-scriptum: The PBC Pau Broadband Country is the mother of all Muni FTTH network on the planet. Everyone interested or involved in this topic should study PBC carefully, and in depth. Learnings are just amazingly surprising. Positively surprising.
I've been quite silent here over the last months, although I've been quite active on the FTTH front: training an installation & maintenance contractor, visiting key vendors, working on Muni Broadband projects, attending seminars and conferences.
Living "Fiber Broadband" since two years, especially with the lovely Pau Broadband Country, I'm now convinced of a few things. Here are my points:
Good news of the day: the folks in Louisiana have made their dream real. Read here.
Truly innovative applications still to come (as anywhere else, it seems). Or, maybe Americans think that HDTV is the Future (no pun intented).
French incumbent France Telecom-Orange is entering the age of Smart Moves, thanks to its CEO Didier Lombard. See this announcement.
Remember the late 90s ? France Telecom was leading the Global One consortium. Now they're going global, as one.
The official announcement just landed here. The 4th edition of the Ultra-Broadband Solutions & Applications 'Odebit' conference & tradeshow will be held on the 22d and 23d of September, in Paris-La Defense.
I do have the very privilege to be part of the organization, as I will manage and facilitate the very first 'Fiber Camp' unconference event ever organized in France - and in Europe, to date.
Actually, I've suggested the idea to the charming Sandrine Lagardere, founder and owner of Odebit, a few months ago. She immediately bought on the idea, as such of brainstorming workshop kind of event is a must in the current situation of everything 'Broadband' here in France and elsewhere in Europe.
Calling on a Fiber Camp since a year or so, I was delighted to learn from the folks in Lafayette, LA : they've put together the world-first CampFiber event back in October, with quite a nice success.
I will do my best to serve the Fiber-To-The-Home community down there in Lafayette's home country, hoping that the FiberCamp Paris will be a model for others in other parts of Europe.
More in the coming weeks, of course.
UPDATE Dec.3, 2008 : FiberCamp @ Odebit'09 wiki page here.
[updated 10/7/08 4:36PM CET] See this 1Gbit/s trial in Amsterdam ? Imagine the same type of apps (3D-HDTV for instance), right at the size of your district. A true field trial. That's what the Pau Greater Area and its Pau Broadband Country FTTH platform can offer to you Next Gen Apps vendors and to you Heavy Bandwidth Consumers.
Plus, Pau is a bit south of Amsterdam, which makes it a slightly better place for work and fun - as long as you prefer sports & nature lifestyle rather than nightlife in a city that never sleeps ;-)
If I were a NGA vendor, I would do the testing in Pau and the implementation in Amsterdam...
This morning at the Ultra-Broadband Summit at the Odebit Conference in Paris, Mr Eric Besson, Minister of State to the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Forward Planning, Assessment of Public Policies and Development of the Digital Economy, introduced the draft plan for Digital Economy by 2012 - read the full text here (link in french).
The one thing that will change the game : France is going aerial cabling. Mr Besson cited Japan and South Korea as the most advanced countries for FTTH, emphasizing on the fact that those countries are deploying mostly aerial fiber. Also, Mr Besson cited USA, where 60% of the fiber cables are aerial. Last, Mr Besson said that aerial cabling reduces the cost of deployment by a factor of 2.
That is the best news I've heard from a member of the French Government since years. Finally, we are to join the "smart club" : aerial cabling is faster, easier, and cheaper than any other solution - buried, ducts...
The french cable manufacturer Acome has developed a solution for fiber deployment along low-voltage power lines which do inverse the traditional ratio Civil Engineering vs. The Rest (i.e. cables, hardware, network equipments, install, etc.) : 20/80 against 80/20 traditionally. Let's work on the 80%, by reducing some costs, such as hardware and/or commissioning for instance, and we will reach an even more attractive solution.
We have now the opportunity to develop truly innovative ways to deploy fiber to everyone faster and cheaper. That is a challenge I hope we at the Pau Broadband Country will be able to help solving.
On Tuesday, the Grenelle du Très Haut Débit will be held in Paris, during the fast-growing Odebit tradeshow & conference event.
I'll attend, on behalf of my boss Jean-Pierre Jambes of the Pau Greater Area. Being a rep of the Pau Broadband Country is a fantastic honor to me, since I've started my career 25 years ago hearing people claiming that Fiber To The Home was the Future. The Future is now, and it takes place as well in Pau.
If you're looking for a city where you can help changing the World thanks to Broadband, don't hesitate to stop by.
[updated 09/17/08, from a Mac ;-) ]
I'm typing this post on my iPhone 3G, whilst enjoying a delicious tartare at the "Berry", one of my favorite restaurants here in Pau. Connected to the Net via 3G, of course. The last couple of days have been quite busy, as my boss Jean-Pierre Jambes and I are preparing a series of strategic events over the next two weeks. Among those events, there's the presentation on Thursday of the "FTTH School" project that we've been working on since last winter. Shall the Gods of Broadband here us, it's going to be a sort of World Premiere, with a pretty intensive use of ultra-broadband to deliver training courses and stuff. The other event we're preparing : the Odebit'08 conference, to be held in Paris next week. I've been spending the afternoon creating and editing the Pau Broadband Country' presentation. A slideshow made with Keynote of course, made of photos and a video. And designed for... the iPhone : we won't use a laptop to run the slideshow on the booth, but an iPhone connected to the larger display with the wonderful Apple-made AV cable. There's many more than one thing to share with you : how I recently boosted my network and started some really intersting experience sharing thanks to Linkedin' a Discussions feature; or how I know twitt more than ever, thanks to the iPhone 3G and Twitterific. But I have to stop writing, as the tartare is getting cold (joke ;-).
Whilst the french community is busy preparing the Grenelle du Très Haut Débit, where some members of the French Government will (hopefully) unveil its plans for fibering (hopefully) the country, others are working hard to make things real.
Congratulations and all the best to Geoff Daily, the organizer of this fantastic event for all of us evangelists of broadband, open neutral networks.
I've embedded the interview of Terry Huval, director of LUS Lafayette Utility Systems, by Geoff, for you to get a flavor of what's going on in the US those days.
Ed. note : I can't stop thinking about the situation if Napoleon didn't sold Louisiana to the US two hundred years ago. Maybe France would have been the true leader of the Broadband communities movement...
On the fourth week of September, I'm going to attend three different events in three days. ECOC'08 to start with, then Odebit'08, and finally the Cisco's CUD conference. That is Monday in Brussels, Tuesday in Paris, and Wednesday in Amsterdam.
Provided that I'll be either an exhibitor (ECOC), or a pro-active participant (Odebit), I have to be there for the opening - means way before the doors open. Also, I expect to leave the places not before 7:00PM each. So the question is : which travel mode is the best, for me to be on time in the morning in Brussels, then in Paris, then in Amsterdam ?
As I do my very best to be an honest Global Warming fighter, the first choice that comes to mind is the Thalys high-speed-train, obviously. At least for the first segment : home - Brussels - Paris, the Thalys seems to be the right solution.
Problem : I must travel low-cost to ECOC. Hence for me driving is cheaper and simplier. Just because I'm "only" 3-hours drive away from Brussels, all on motorways, whilst going by train would force me to 1) drive to the Disneyland Paris high-speed-train station 60 minutes away from home, 2) leave my car at the parking lot there, and pay for it, 3) jump in the train to Lille-Europe, and switch for the next one to Brussels-Midi, 4) grab a taxi to the hotel, and pay for it, 5) on the morning next day, pay the hotel room - a one-night stay in Brussels is not cheap, even in a 2-stars hotel - and 6) grab a taxi to the Exhibition center, and pay the guy. And the reverse in the evening on the way back to home : call a cab, catch the train, switch in Lille-Europe, drive home.
The train option : a 2-days trip, approximatively 350 euros all included but the meals. The car option : a 1-day trip, approx. 100 euros, gasoline & toll included. Therefore, the choice is easy. Car wins, unfortunately for the planet.
Now the trip to Amsterdam. Driving is not an option, so the question is : train or airplane ? Train : the last Thalys to Amsterdam departs from Paris at 6:25PM, meaning that I would have to leave the Broadband Summit at Odebit at something like 5:00PM. No way, since the wrap-up session will be held by a key member of the French Government. Therefore, option B wins : I'll fly from Paris to Amsterdam. I am so sorry, again, Mother Earth.
The conclusion is, you may be the most proactive proponent of the fight against climate changes (which I'm not. This guy is, for sure ;-), your agenda sometimes forces you to break the rules.
The lesson for me : it's time to compensate my carbon emissions. See my total CO2 footprint to date here on Dopplr. How much is yours ?
French entrepreneur Jean-Michel Planche recently launched internetforeveryone.fr, a new initiative aimed at promoting an open, neutral and free Internet for everyone (french-speaking volunteers : feel free to join here). Of course, this initiative is the french equivalent of the well-known and pro-active internetforeveryone.org which focus on the US.
Beside all the sociological and ethical aspects, which are fundamentaly the most important ones, hence our priority number one, there's all the technological stuff to be adressed. From the very roots of the Internet (i.e. the IP protocol, Ethernet, etc.) to the less high-level kind of matters such as fiber networks installation and maintenance, we must to re-invent the whole thing.
With for some, like network construction, a pretty deep impact on Social : building Fiber-To-Every-Home networks will require tens of thousands of workers - meaning will create tens of thousands of jobs (100,000 in France alone for the next 5 years, shall the telcos push the ignition button). Just like the construction of railroads in the 19th Century gave jobs to thousands of emigrants and locals in North America ***.
That's what makes Jean-Michel' s initiative so exciting - and challenging. For once, we can be part of a World-Changing project.
Now, why now ? Why is it mandatory to * re-invent * the Internet, as opposed to enhance/upgrade/patch the existing infrastructures, protocols, topologies, etc. ?
Then, read this interesting news by VentureBeat, dated July 23d and titled "Hackers begin to exploit a critical Internet flaw". I'm no Networking (the technical sense ;-) specialist, but I know what a DNS server is (thanks to my early days with HP). So, if this news is true, I understand the potential danger of such flaw. Here's the extract of the article that will help you novices to understand too :
The bug is in the Domain Name System, or DNS, which is the system for translating the locations of network computers into Internet addresses. The flaw is in the design of the DNS protocol itself and is thus not limited to any single product that uses it. If someone hijacks a DNS server, they can redirect an unsuspecting Internet surfer to a malicious web site. A hacker targeting an Internet Service Provider, or ISP, could replace the entire Web (as accessible through that ISP) — search engines, social networks, banks — with their own malicious content. DNS is used by every computer on the Internet to know where to find other computers. Those attacking corporations could reroute network traffic and capture emails and other sensitive business data.
Don't you think it's time to think again ?
*** you may call me an utopist or a fool. Then, ask yourself the question : what is the REAL reason for all those FTTH nets' construction delays ? Answer is simple : lack of (skilled) resources.
Le Tour de France will make its annual stop here in Pau next week. The city is readying for the big show, with signs, ads, and welcome events popping up everywhere. In the meantime, the new release of the blockbuster "Pro Cycling Manager" game is on the shelves.
Among the key features of this 2008 version, there's one which rings a bell to me :
" Play in single and/or multi-player mode (allows up to 20 players over the Internet or via LAN). "
Imagine the benefits of FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home for such a game : no more players number' s limitation, so that you could be part of a *real* 200+ racers' peloton, even better graphics, and a faster speed of reaction for you to counterattack your rivals...
FTTH does offer many other possibilities to practice sports like Cycling or Skiing. For instance, imagine home-trainers connected to the Internet, simulating a real competition between cyclists for their indoor training during winter...
Shall you be a game developer loving Sports (e.g. Cycling, Tennis, Ski, Rafting, etc.), please feel free to drop me a line : Pau is the place you should be.
Yesterday in Mortain, a beautiful small town a few miles away from the Mont St Michel,was the 3d Ultra-Broadband Conference, held by the french optical cable manufacturer ACOME.
Here are my running notes, as is - means no re-writing * ( my personal comments under brackets ) :
Regis Paumier, CEO, ACOME. keynote speech :
- CETHD Center of Expertise for Ultra Broadband : 1,000+ visitors to date (note : opened mid 2007)
- there are many issues with Quality and Maintenance (on optical networks, FTTx)
- key issue in France (on FTTH) : rural environment.
Ms. Agnes Huet, President, Comptoir des Signaux. market survey by the FTTH Council Europe :
- FTTx networks Business Model :
a) OpenAccess is mandatory
b) Operator vs. End-User : capacity becomes commodity; extends potential services; puts the End-User at the center of the market.
- User-oriented solutions : puts the End-User at the epicenter of the system : dynamic bandwidth allocation, dynamic services allocation.
- Open Access / Open Networks not widely adopted in France : very few existing networks allow such services.
- xPON infrastructures limit Open Access systems.
- Collectivities want to : investigate all potential solutions; model contribution and ROI.
- Collectivities claim they don't have visibility on those solutions (hence the need for permanent live show-rooms).
Yves Le Mouel, President, French Federation of Telecoms (i.e. : Operators) :
- FTTH in France : need 100k new subscribers per month to be considered "mainstream";
- Investments : estimation = 10 Billions euros over 10 years (see recent announcement by SFR - link in french);
- New Business models must be invented, because based on abundance of bandwidth and services;
- the key question is : how to deploy a complex infrastructure to deliver services the simplest way (note : hence the need for a complete paradigm shift. Think Different);
- how FTTH will win by 2012 : the Killer App.
- the Killer App : images, video, online gaming, music, unlimited storage (read : Cloud Computing);
- services : teleworking, telemedicine, teleassistance, telemonitoring, online shopping;
- QoS : PnP, Easy2Go, AlwaysOn.
- avoid the Digital Divide : think Geography, Social, residential customers vs. enterprises...
- issues to be fixed : evangelisation, training & education of networks' deployment professionals (comment : good to hear that from the operators themselves);
- this represents more than 100,000 jobs (comment : good to hear that one too. I personally claim FTTH is a unique opportunity for new jobs and businesses creation, since months);
- target FTTH France 2012 : 3-Mo new subscribers per year. Same as ADSL. (comment : on this one, I slightly disagree : ADSL is easy to deploy, because it uses an existing infrastructure. FTTH : you need to install at least the last mile).
Thierry Houdart, Deployment Director, Axione (ETDE groupe Bouygues). an innovative solution for optical cable deployment :
- install the optical cable along the low-voltage power distribution network;
- speed : up to 1-km per day, by 2 technicians;
- no traffic disruption (road, power, telecom, etc.);
- capillarity : the fiber cable can go right to the end-user;
- infrastructure' cost : divided by a factor of 2 to 3 compared to existing traditional solutions, e.g. buried cables;
- green deployment : lower the CO2 emissions by 50%.
My personal take (this time w/o brackets, because it's a pretty crucial point ;-) : I assume the cost of deployment with this new solution is less than 30€ per meter, all together - site survey, components, installation, etc. Let say we can achieve 15€/m : a fantastic quantum leap for FTTH.
This solution is a true paradigm shifting one anyway : the split of the cost of deployment is no longer 80% civil work and 20% components + instal; it is now 20% civil work and 80% components + installation. On top, it's an eco-friendly solution. Fiber finally goes Green. Brilliant.
* I wish I could capture notes this way ;-)
At NXTcomm'08 yesterday, Verizon Communications Inc. announced its plan to offer 50-Mbit/s
FiOS service to its FTTH Fiber To The Home customers (approx. 10
Read LightReading article by Raymond McConville for more details.
According to LightReading, " the 50-Mbit/s FiOS package will be offered for $90 per month in New York and Virginia, and at $140 per month in all other markets. The 50-Mbit/s downstream speeds will be coupled with the 20-Mbit/s upstream speeds Verizon began offering in October 2007."
Writes McConville, " Verizon’s ultimate goal is to enable 100-Mbit/s downstream to each FiOS subscriber. The carrier says it has successfully conducted 100-Mbit/s field trials with employees, but hasn't yet set a timetable for a commercial launch.".
Bokay. That's a truly compelling offer for the lucky FiOS' subscribers. But this is still an annoucement. For people - read Online Gamers, developers, entrepreneurs - looking for ultra-broadband access today, there's a place on Earth where they'll find 50Mbit/s upstream & downstream, immediately : Pau, France.
For less than $53 per month, installation and first month for free*.
Since decades, Australian and Californian surfers move to Biarritz for its beautiful spots. Why wouldn't the young *Net* generation, online gamers first, move to Pau for its blazzingly fast broadband access (and its wonderful landscapes in the meantime) ?
ps : 100Mbit/s is also commercially available, since a couple of years...
* by NeufCegetel, until June 30th.
Buddy Blogger Benoit Felten has published an outstanding interactive map on the actual situation of FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home networks worldwide. Worth the look (and bookmark) for all of us working in the FTTx field.
FYI, here's the comment I just left :
"About Pau : the 6,000 active subscribers milestone will be achieved within the next couple of weeks.
Based on the map, which is pretty accurate thanks to Benoit's outstanding work, one can note that Pau is the ONLY european city south of the Loire river (means, where weather conditions are wonderful for most of us ;-) that offers up to 100Mbps connectivity to enterprise & residential customers."
Go to the map here.
Buddy Blogger Benoit Felten has posted a very interesting article on the recent report from the French business owners/managers' Union MEDEF : "How to make of France a leader in the Digital Economy." (link and pdf document in french).
This article, by Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor at the mandatory Light Reading, demonstrates once again that my country (France. You know, the little old piece of european land ruled by a superb showman) is truly leading the Telecoms World. But nobody here knows it, including our Emperor, ooops sorry, er. President, unfortunately.
Thanks to The Broadband Hub, this highly interesting presentation by Dr. Robert Atkinson of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Although it's 100% USA-focused, I'm sure most of the ratios apply to the rest of the Western World too (incl. France of course and unfortunately).
Among many key figures which help understanding the real situation in regards of Broadband access & use, the one about the perception of the Internet by Disabled persons (page 39) is quite questioning : the Internet, which normally should be considered as one of the most powerful tool to get Disabled people on board, is not. There is a good news behind the bad one : there is plenty of stuff still to be done for real innovation and entrepreneurship in this domain. "Change the World", right ?...
ps: also found in this presentation, the Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Broadband Access Map, that enables real-time, bottomup broadband mapping. Got to find the same for Europe. Or create it if it doesn't exist yet !...
Digging the Web for data on FTTx Fiber-To-The-Something key players in the Bay Area, I found this 125+ pages document. Quite an extensive overview of the FTTx markets, although the study is dated 2003. Considering that the Telecoms industry just recovered by the end of 2006, IMHO most of the informations you'll find in there are still pretty much relevant - simply change names when M&A apply.
Ehrhardt & Ehrhardt consulting firm website here (in Dutch)
Earlier this week, US Telco Verizon unveiled a Groundbreaking FiOS Internet Service. Claims the press release : " Verizon has changed the definition of "fast" with the introduction of a new, symmetrical Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers, featuring an upload and download speed of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps)."
Wow. 20Mbps on fiber, that's quite a breakthrough. For the US. Because, not willing to play the Arrogant Frenchie, but... we've got 20Mbps DSL since years, allowing real TriplePlay services including HD-TV. Okay, DSL is not symmetrical. Guess what : we (well, the lucky guys in Paris or Pau and many other cities across the country) can get full-symmetrical 100Mbps on fiber since months.
Take the city of Pau and its state-of-the-art 'Pau Broadband Country' broadband access network : 40,000+ homes passed, with 6,000+ active subscribers : NeufCegetel offers symmetrical 50Mbps since May this year, whilst enterprises and high-end users enjoy a full 100Mbps connection.
So, for those of you who seek bandwidth hungrily : take a one-way ticket to the 21st Century' (Broadband) Capital : Pau.
Update 10-27-07 : I just replaced the previous photo for the one above. The reason is that the author of the original photo sent me a message today, claiming the copyright. He wanted me to mention his name, blahblahblah. Well, I would, should this famous photo be about a private thing or so. Fact is, the photo shows a public work on a public street, for a public community (a french city somewhere in the Alpes). In summary, the guy shot a picture of something paid by the French citizens, and he wants a copyright on it. Weird, IMHO. Especially at the Age of the Web 2.0.
To reach this modest person, click here, er, nowhere : I haven't seen any "email me" button on his weblog, which is here.
post-scriptum : the photo is mine, means I shot it myself some years ago, somewhere in Santa Rosa, California.
I must apologize : I didn't ask the authorization to PacBell to take this picture. However, it's here for you, with no copyright. Enjoy it, copy it, save it, distribute it : it's free, because I decided to put it here, on my blog, on the Web, on the Internet.
By the way, the PacBell folks did a great job repairing a fiber optics cable this beautiful morning. I wish the French telcos and I&M contractors be able to deliver the same level of quality. But that's another story.
Heard from Mr Dominque Paret, IT Development Director at the Region of Loire (you know, Saint-Etienne, their Soccer Team, their Schlumberger/Wavetek/Acterna/JDSU/Who'sNext? Fiber Optics Test R&D & Manufacturing Plant, etc...) last week at the Odebit Conference in Paris, this true fact - for France in this case, however I'm sure it also apply to many other countries in Europe : when you build a new road, you know the traffic will double the next year AND you know there will be a new college within the next five years. Simply because people have moved all along that new road.
According to Mr Paret, this is a well known and well mastered model (that's why we have those ENA and X and Mines things ;-). The problem with fiber is that there is no such a model at the moment : nobody can tell for sure what will be the outcomes of a FTTx network five years after its completion.
Shall YOU have heard or experienced or built such a model yourself (i.e. in/for your community), please don't hesitate to share it !
Thanks to the weekly delivery of my YouTube' subscriptions, just discovered this video from the Electric Power Board, a.k.a. EPB, of the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A Chattanooga' s public utility, EBP launched a Fiber To The Home initiative back in August this year. In the official announcement, Harold DePriest, EPB’s President and CEO said : ”A Fiber to the Home infrastructure will help ensure a growing supply of jobs for our children – and our grandchildren. Fiber to the Home will be as critical to Chattanooga’s quality of life as electric power was in the 1930s or the Interstate system was in the 1950s. On top of that, it will help make electricity in our area even more reliable and affordable.”
What makes this initiative an interesting case study for the cities and local collectivities wondering if a FTTH network is worth the investments : it's a 160,000 inhabitants town, with a local economy that includes a diversified mix of manufacturing and service industries, four colleges, and several preparatory schools. According to Wikipedia : Chattanooga is the corporate headquarters of many mid-sized firms including bicycle manufacturer Litespeed (looking for a titanium bike ? there you go ;-) and sustainable design company Tricycle Inc.. Many businesses in the banking and insurance industries run their operations from Chattanooga. The city is also home of large branch offices of AT&T and UBS. In summary, Chattanooga is pretty similar to lots of european cities, take many Germany, UK, and France for instance, which might benefit from Fiber-To-The-Home too...
Back to DePriest announcement :
“A recent study by a group of professors at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Tennessee State University suggests these economic and social benefits alone could top $600 million for Chattanooga over ten years.
Another study, verified by the Electric Power Research Institute, indicates that Fiber to the Home will also allow EPB to make significant improvements to its electric power distribution system. The infrastructure can help the company locate problems earlier, restore outages more quickly and gain efficiencies that are not currently available. It will also allow EPB to provide more tools to help customers reduce their power usage and cost.
The value to electric power customers in the form of reduced outages, energy conservation and other efficiencies is estimated at roughly $300 million over ten years, bringing Fiber to the Home’s total value to the community to nearly $1 billion over the course of ten years.”
Quite an interesting ROI, right ?...
See the video - and much much more - directly on EPB' s website here.
Read why the such an initiative always generates FUD here and here.
More on the lovely city of Chattanooga here. Among many other key factors to make a city a nice place to live in, this : "The city supports a downtown shuttle fleet of zero-emission electric buses - manufactured here in Chattanooga - for commuters and visitors wishing to park-and-ride."
The Fiber Optics Industry keeps accelerating its pace towards full recovery and bright sustainable future. The forthcoming "GPON Deployment Forum" organized by IIR Telecoms is a must-attend for all of you involved with FTTH Fiber To The Home networks.
GPON Deployment Forum is to be held Mon 03 Dec - Thu 06 Dec 2007 at the Moevenpick Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
UK-based Telco 2.0 is running a market survey on the future business models in the Broadband arena. To participate, click here.
My take : IP, FTTx, and Web 2.0 are going to change the whole Telecoms landscape, with Telcos and ISPs and others to make money on services rather than on infrastructure.
Thanks Benoit for the heads up.