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.
A startup offering Groupon-style group discounts for Broadband open neutral connections is now looking to connect with potential Broadband customers nationwide. On Monday Ulix 361 plans to expand access to its group Broadband discounts, installer recommendations and Broadband information services to another set of almost two dozen regions across France.
Ulix 361 works by using the power of the group to leverage a low-cost Broadband deal in certain areas. Similar to Groupon, Ulix 361 collects a critical mass of interested Broadband customers in a given area and uses the volume of people to make deals with Telecom operators. Think of the service as a way for entire neighborhoods to go Broadband in one fell swoop.
CEO and founder Olivier Zablocki explained to me in an interview that the idea of the service is to use the power of the group to shield consumers from lack of interest of the Telcos and to connect customers with reputable Broadband service providers. Broadband open neutral connections are a relatively new market in France, and prices, quality and delivery can vary wildly.
However, the bulk of Ulix 361’s deals have been delivered in regions with strong Broadband subsidies like Auvergne and Aquitaine. Ulix 361 has led to about 1,500 Broadband connections being installed since its first pilot projects were done in the summer of 2009.
The new nationwide plan launched this week provides a software tool for customers in regions that don’t necessarily have Open Access Broadband-friendly incentives to attempt to organize group deals and to see approved local Broadband services providers. But the catch is that customers in regions with weak Broadband subsidies probably won’t be able to finagle a group deal as low as ones in Broadband-friendly regions. In those instances, the software tool alerts the potential customers to how much they would have been able to save in a Broadband-friendly region and educates the potential customers about how they can connect with local legislators to ask for Broadband subsidies in their area.
It’s a smart bit of marketing, and it enables Ulix 361 to get involved with changing the unfortunate situation that the bulk of Broadband connections are done in a select number of regions. Ulix 361 says 20 out of 27 regions don’t have adequate Broadband subsidies that can generate economic connections deals. Ulix 361 generates revenue by charging Telecom operators a referral fee of 25 cents per megabit/second of contracted subscription.
Broadband and big data
The nationwide Broadband program is the latest example of an innovative startup turning to web analytics, big-data tools and smart algorithms to try to deliver more Broadband installations in France. The company has launched a Facebook app that shows how much savings a home Broadband connection is producing. Ulix 361, though, uses a monitoring device called the Spoutnik that a Broadband installer deploys at the home and that can track the current status of all the connected devices, their individual and overall power consumption, as well as the electricity eventually generated by renewable energy systems, e.g. photovoltaic solar panels.
Ulix 361 isn’t just using an idea that’s similar to Groupon; Ulix 361 also shares Groupon’s will to stay independent of the Big Guys. Recently, Olivier and his shareholders turned down an offer from Google, who is definitely seeking for field-proven, customer-focused, expertise in the Broadband area.
Editor Note : original article here.
Look no further. It's here, and it's coming on a fiber near you. Faster than you might think. Hey, we're humans, after all.
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.
It's also by far the most critical project for the whole Telecoms circle here in France: The Hauts de Seine department is the home of President Sarkozy, who will certainly keep an eye on the construction of the network until completion, and watch carefully the outcomes.
By 2012, the Hauts de Seine will offer ultra-broadband connectivity to all its citizens and businesses. Provided this territory is the richest of France, THD92 is to serve as THE Model for the rest of the country. Maybe the enormous reservoir of talents there will help developing the long-awaited Next-Generation Apps. Perhaps France will lead the Digital Economy then...
ps : for more info on THD92, read this post by Buddy Benoit Felten, and follow the links.
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 ;-)
Right after the Pyretic conference in Pau, I will attend the 6th edition of the Sustainable Development Workshop "Ateliers du Développement Durable" in Bordeaux, October 20-21.
Unlike many of the seminars and conferences I've seen this year on the subject "Sustainable Development", this workshop is focusing on the Social aspects of things. In summary: how to get out of the current crisis by putting PEOPLE at the very center of the *new* Society' s model.
Quite a challenge, right ?...
Over the french Culture & Medias magazine "Telerama", journalist Samuel Gontier has published last week the apparently true story of his encounter with FTTH Fiber To The Home.
This story is the exact reflect of the actual situation in the country with FTTH install :
- the contractors, coming from the Enterprise world, are not used to deal with people like you and me, read the Residential market.
- budget constraints and obsolete technics make it difficult for the technicians to overcome material issues such as fiber layout.
The article being written in french, I will do my best to translate it within the next few days. However, you can try a Google Translate from there.
I will also elaborate on my personal view on the problem, which is, IMHO, the real reason why FTTH deployments are not so important at the moment in France : lack of skilled technicians and lack of state-of-the-art organizations are slowing down the whole stuff. Among a couple of other issues of course, such as the fact that private/listed Telcos make their profits on Copper and Cellular, not on Personal Care 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:
Ms. Nathalie Kosciusco-Morizet, aka NKM, has presented today a 750M€ package aimed at deploying Fiber Broadband, developing Serious Gaming, and implementing Web 2.0 Administration over the next three years.
Official announcement here (link in french).
More on this over the next few days: I have way too many things to tell and share on those matters - especially with the Pau Broadband Country - to keep it for me only ;-)
Twitter-Master @guykawasaki has posted a link to a useful article written by Stuart Cross of BNET UK. The Top Five Innovation Killers. Worth reading, including for those of you who think you already know everything about innovation.
By a curious hazard, my dear coach Hal Stitt sent me the links to his new program, aimed at helping companies to grow during harsh times: Recession Strategies:
No Single Recession Strategy Fits Everyone
Emerging businesses have no ongoing business to protect. The winning strategy must be to quickly identify, characterize, and win new customers. Agility is vital to winning strategies in emerging business segments. The customers are also creating emerging businesses of their own.
Growth businesses must protect the customers they have while they create new ones in a long term fight to gain market share. The goal must be to win a leading market share before the growth phase transitions into maturity in order to generate lots of cash to fund new emerging and growth strategies.
Mature businesses are the most directly affected by economic slowdowns. The natural tendency is to oversimplify, to cut costs and expenses across the board. That ignores the likely reality that while most of the customers in mature markets cut back on discretionary spending with vigor (e.g. cars and houses), others may be increasing their spending in more recession-proof projects of their own. Those opportunities get killed as collateral damage in a simple expense cutting strategy.
Even Established Businesses Have Options
Houses and cars have been hit hard in the current recession, but a state-controlled liquor store here in Eugene, OR reported in early February, 2009 that their sales in 2008 were up 65% over 2007.
Ashley Heher, Associated Press, reported at about the same time; "The ever-popular Wii gaming console continues to sell out at the list price of $249 (US), Avon cosmetics just boosted prices, Nike is releasing its newest Air Jordan with an astonishing $190 price tag, and designer water can still command as much as $3.99".
All of the businesses above are established, not startup or growth businesses. If you are in an established business, the chances are good that some parts of your business are impacted like houses and cars are, other parts are more like the liquor store, and many others lie along the continuum between those extremes.
I'm writing this short note from a beautiful ski resort in the French Southern Alpes. One week off, however my iPhone rings every day to bring me back to business for a (short) while.
This evening, I got a call from a training center, looking for an instructor able to teach FTTH install and fiber testing. We did not discuss my resume (although it fits 100% ;-)
but Obama's Stimulus Plan versus Sarkozy'.
We both came up to the same conclusion: the only way to create the hundreds of thousands jobs our country needs to 1) overcome the crisis and 2) get ready for the forthcoming global competition once the crisis will be over is to go (Green) Fiber Broadband full speed.
Unfortunately, it seems that our President has decided to go another way: 1,000 projects, consisting of the repair of a classified church's roof here or the construction of a roundabout there. Stuff to maintain existing jobs here and there, not to create the France of Tomorrow...
I wish I were American.
I have been invited by Cisco to attend the EUSEW 09 next week in Brussels, Belgium.
I've got my badge this morning : in a EC' stamped envelop. I'm proud to be European ;-)
John St. Julien of Lafayette, LA, has published an article titled "LUS Fiber delays start" on the LafayetteProFiber blog. Says John in his introduction : "LUS has missed its deadline to serve the first customers in January of this year. They point to uncompleted contracts for cable channels as the reason for the delay—contracts LUS has signed but the folks that control the channel packages have not returned."
For those of you who are not familiar with the LUS Fiber project, you may find relevant informations on the LUS Lafayette Utilities System website here. In summary, the city of Lafayette is building its own FTTH Fiber-To-The-Home network. Get all details and interactive maps here on the LUS Fiber website.
The first customers were supposed to be served "by early 2009", meaning now. Unfortunately, it seems that some issues with the services providers have lead to delay the network' turn up (hey dear readers of Gonfreville-l'Orcher, France: does it sound familiar to you ?...).
What is surprising to me, as someone who's deeply involved into FTTH' matters since 18 months now, is the fact that missing contracts for TV services do screw up the whole thing. How about Voice and Internet ? Or other services, outside of the TriplePlay arena ? Such as Tele-Medicine, Tele-Education, Tele-whatever-that-is-not-Vision...
According to the LUS Fiber FAQ' page, Voice and Internet are part of the package offered to subscribers. Hence the confirmation: in people's mind, FTTH means HDTV, full-stop. That's why it goes wry everywhere but in Asia. See in France, for instance : why would people ask for fiber, when they can get hundreds of TV channels in high-def with DSL ?...
Here comes the PBC Pau Broadband Country. Decided in 2002, right in the middle of the Dotcom crash' s long-tail effects. Signed up in 2003, when NO standard or recommendations even exist on Active Ethernet P2P FTTH networks. Opened in 2005, when VoIP and IPTV were just crossing the chasm toward mainstream. Today, PBC is a model. The mother of all Muni Fiber networks. It works, it attracts businesses, it helps creating the lifestyle that goes with ultra-broadband.
It's time to share the Pau Broadband Country' s experience(s). First workshop by the end of March. Stay tuned.
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.
Brian Solis of TechCrunch just published an outstanding article on entrepreneurship during a downturn time such as the one we are encountering today.
"Fear Kills Businesses, Dead" is a must-read for all of us who are in the Business.
We surely know it already, for most of us have been through the last crisis just a few years ago - remember the Dotcom ? However, some of us may be overhelmed by negative thoughts at the moment, generated by all the bad news we hear of all day long.
Therefore, here's our cure, folks:
"Building Your Business in a Recession
Obviously, capital preservation and cost cutting do not equate to sustenance or growth. The driving factors are poles apart when striving to merely stay alive vs. building a business.
If you’re sheltering cash to focus on development, then cut the services and expenses that will not impede your ability to cross the threshold to market success. If you’re conserving funds to prolong life, then realize that the only fountain of youth is cash itself. Focusing energies on generating revenue, increasing visibility, and enhancing customer loyalty are the most effective strategies for underwriting longevity, and hopefully growth, especially during an economic downturn.
The real question you have to ask yourself is, “How will my customers find me today and tomorrow?”
I’m not sure if this is a newsflash or not, but customers do not typically go out of their way to “discover” your products and companies. They have choices and it’s the job of any marketing and sales-centric business to reach their customers where they go for information—otherwise, they’re out of the decision making process by default. Marketing and sales are the conduits for connecting prospects to your business.
In a down economy, tomorrow’s leaders are born today. It takes vision, focus, and a hyper-connected sense of what customers are seeking, why, and where.
The reality is that there are hard costs tied to customer acquisition and retention. The key is to observe and listen to your customers to ascertain the most active and direct channels to reach and engage them.
Here are several, targeted and affordable suggestions:
1. SEO – Customers actively use search engines to find relevant solutions. Keyword and organic search optimization is an inexpensive and effective means for gaining strategic presence.
2. Blog Relations – It’s not just about news and pitching the A-List, creating a consistent and visible brand requires the inclusion of the authoritative, peer-to-peer blogs that your customers and influencers read for information, help and perspective. Oh, and be wise about using embargoes.
3. Media/Analysts – Reporters and analysts cover your space and by simply writing about your company or product, they can position you as an option among your customers; especially when they’re researching options to validate decisions.
4. Direct Sales – Some of the most successful companies right now are concentrating on direct outreach to the decision makers instead of hoping to influence them from the sidelines.
5. CRM – Building a customer-focused business saves money and increases revenue. Focusing on customers and empowering them improves business processes, product development, and also offsets marketing expenses as “involved and participatory” customers transform from a cost-center into an active surrogate sales force.
6. Participate – Social networks are much more than mere time killers. Participating across the social communities where you’re customers and prospects are active and vocal provides a looking glass into their thoughts, requests, opinions, dislikes, and recommendations. It also provides you with priceless opportunities to combat negative perceptions while also positioning your company as a resource.
7. Thought Leadership – One of the best ways to demonstrate thought leadership is to actively share your thoughts where they count. Contributing articles and posts to industry publications, forums, and blogs increases visibility and unobtrusively contributes to your sales strategy by helping customers find you.
8. Blog and Blog Comments – It may seem trite or perhaps even worthless, but I can guarantee that finding the time to host and contribute to a blog that demonstrates the expertise of you and your team is priceless. People are looking for information and direction, not just from your blog but others as well. Go where they are and offer counsel, contribute to the dialogue and establish trust and authority in the process. Why wouldn’t you position yourself as a resource for your customers or prospects? Too busy you say? Empower your staff. Contract outside experts to contribute to creating a one-stop-shop for insight and direction—just be transparent about their involvement. It costs less than you think to build a community around your product, or at least what it stands for.
9. Network in the real world – Participation isn’t solely relegated to online networks. Opportunities to meet and cultivate relationships in the real world are abundant. Meetups, industry events, groups, unofficial lobbycons associated with your favorite events are continuous and more valuable with your involvement.
10. Involve Your Community – Save money and time by involving your customers in the development process of your new and iterative products as well as your go to market strategy. Alpha customers are often ready to assist with the validation of your business model and also the honest feedback associated with your product benefits and features.
11. Websites are not Just Web Pages – Your Website must make an emotional connection with visitors, while also conveying stories and value propositions that specifically capture the attention of your customers – otherwise, all of your hard work and investment of time and money in sales and marketing campaigns will generate traffic, but lead to a dramatically reduced conversation ratios.
12. Innovate – Always learn and improve everything in order to stay relevant."
This and much more in Solis's post here.
This week in Poznan, Poland, the UN Climate Change Conference was kind of a disaster for EU. Unable to find a common agreement on the war against Global Warming but one: continue to do business as usual. That's frightening: either we "Green-focused" citizen are dumb, either our governments are just... you name it.
By chance, Mr. Former Next President Al Gore went on stage today, to once again share his fear, anger, and vision with the developed countries.
Says Mr. Gore : "The political systems of the developed world have become sclerotic. We have to overcome the paralysis that has prevented us from acting and focus clearly and unblinkingly on this crisis rather than spending so much time on OJ Simpson, Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith."
Among several statements, there's one made by the Nobel Prize winner that is a true warning to us European, and especially us French :
That's the message, EU folks: once again during a crisis, America will stand up firm and lead the World. We kind of missed the opportunity. "Grenelle de l'Environnement", anyone ?... Think about the leadership on technologies, the potential for new jobs creations, etc. Now, instead of developing new concepts, new technologies, new products, we are set to become simple "consumers", as usual.
Anyway, the World needs a true leader, and the United States of America have proven to be the one. Today is a day where I really would love sporting a US passport. Listen to Al Gore, and get inspiration.
ps: you can sign up at OneClimate.net here.
Folks at french consulting firm FaberNovel have released a pretty extensive study on Google' s key success factors.
For all of us who use Google' s stuff all day long at the office, at home, or on the road (iPhone 3G' Maps, anyone ?), this is a must read. As TechCrunch' Ouriel Ohayon stated : "It is hard to realize the real nature of this just 10 years old giant given the number of services it has continuously released, updated (and sometimes shut down) or acquired."
Like millions of others on the Planet, I'm using lots of the products that come out Mountain View. Search, GMail, Docs, Maps, YouTube, Picasa, you name it : all apps everybody working in a pure paperless/collaborative/open environment can't miss.
Like a bit less of other 'Telecoms' folks down there, I'm also convinced that Google is the only company able to massively invest into the Ultra-Broadband industry in order to build the open neutral access networks that are the true foundation of the Information Age. FaberNovel's white paper gives an accurate perspective on that :
"Internet infrastructures are a free provider for Google: the search engine indirectly benefits from Wifi providers, cable and satellite operators or backbone manufacturers who all subsidy the access of users to the Internet. On a macroeconomic scale, Google is becoming dependent on this value chain and must secure its providers.
Google is consequently driving towards infrastructure investing. This trend is aiming
at a multiple goal:
-Ensuring long-lasting existing infrastructures
-Giving access to the Internet for non-connected populations and countries
-Offering high-speed and permanent access to the World Wide Web."
Why ? Simply because the more people on Earth will be connected to the Internet spending their whole life online, the more revenues will flow to Google. That's why we see all those lobbying efforts by the G'Mens on Broadband matters. IMHO, the R&D spendings on new optical communication gear, such as new fibers, new systems, new install methods, etc, are worth the money: as far as the unique rule at Google: "change the rules" is concerned, the ROI return on investment promise to be quite fast anyway.
Is this a good or bad thing, for having such a giant involved in almost every aspect of our online activities ? Maybe Google is the true Evil of the James Bond' franchise. Maybe not. Let's give it a try anyway...
Download the white-paper and/or the slides set here.
Contact FaberNovel here (link in french).
With the economy crisis' s waves going to hit the Telecoms Land hard, most of the Installation & Maintenance contractors are already tightening up their investments and expenditures budgets, the Dotcom crash being still present in their memories.
The key difference between today and 2000 : there are people at the other end of the fiber. FTTx Fiber-To-The-Whatever is a reality now. And despite the forthcoming yet unpredictable downturn, Telcos, Utilities and Munis are keeping their fiber networks' rollouts plans on. Shifting some deadlines here, downsizing the network's scale there, but the goal is still : "we must deploy fiber" - see the recent announcement (link in french) by the french government.
That means that there is still huge business to come for the I&M contractors. The question is : how to train their technicians to build and maintain State of The Art fiber networks, whilst their budgets will be close to nothing ? Answer is : Re-invent the way we do training. Since quite a while, Installation companies don't send their techs for a 5-days hands-on session anymore, so it's going to be even worth now. Except for a few very specific technology or product training, they won't go off-site. They will ask for on-site (if not in-house...) training, as short as possible to not keep the techs away of the field for too long time. Today, a 3-days session is the standard for novices to become OSP Outside Plant technicians. Tomorrow, it's going to be 1-day (you get the idea).
We Fiber Vets all know that you don't become a true capable Fiber Install guy in a day. You have to practice at least a week. Hence the business case : how to provide a 5-days hands-on in just one single day. The solution : let's come to the Technician. Provide him with the training he needs when and where he needs it. Welcome to Fiber Training 2.0.
Today, we can get the relevant info we want when we want it, no matter where we are : it's called The Web. Let's use it. Do the shift from the old-fashioned way : the powerpoints, the lectures, the 20-people class-room, to the Web 2.0 one : audio and video podcasts on iTunes, training video clips on YouTube, photos collections on Flickr, discussion groups on Facebook, etc.
That's what a couple of Old-Timers, including myself, are working on. See here what Jim Hayes and his FOA Fiber Optics Association is currently offering. I'm also working on such tools. See here for instance, and here. Soon to an iPhone/iPod Touch near you : fiber news, photos, videos, and one more thing (and more ;-).
Of course, nothing virtual will ever replace the real world. You won't learn how to splice two fiber strands together with a video only : you must put your hands on the fibers, the cleaver, the splicer. It's like becoming #1 in Tennis : you won't beat Federer just watching his matches on YouTube ;-)
The famous, long expected, mission-critical strategic plan for the development of the digital economy in France has been presented this morning by Mr. Eric Besson.
The whole document is available here (.pdf, in french). Lots of interesting action items and initiatives to notice, for instance : aerial fiber cabling, Web 2.0, innovative services to the person, etc.
As of now, Monday October 20 at 5:30PM CET, the www.francenumerique2012.fr website is unavailable, for the english version to be downloaded. Unfortunately, the official website in english of the Prime Minister don't mention the document.
I'll post the link to the english version as soon as possible.
In her recent post on how to improve your customers' s experience during those harsh times such as the ones we're entering, Patty Seybold explains the different ways to use Web 2.0 tools to keep in touch and even reinforce the relationships with them.
Here's what Patty writes :
If you are forced to throttle back and/or delay customer-critical IT projects right now, consider some much lower-cost actions you could take. Each of these can be done by a relatively non-technical person and set up in a matter of minutes!
1. Adopt Web 2.0 “pay as you go” cloud-hosted applets rather than large monolithic internal ERP applications.
2. Develop interactive gadgets and widgets to deliver up-to-date interactive functionality and information via your Web site(s) and portals.
3. Use SMS, twitter, and instant messaging to communicate with customers.
4. Use Wikis and shared collaborative spaces to coordinate across organizational boundaries.
5. Encourage customers to take polls, contribute content, photos, videos, tags, and reviews to make your company's Web site more compelling and to help customers make buying decisions easily. (Hint: you can use third-party widgets to do many of these things.)
Keep in mind what Peter Drucker said : this is the customer who defines your business. He wrote that in the early 70's. Now that we have Web 2.0 apps & tools at our service, it would be a great mistake not to leverage on it.
Read the full article here.
If everything goes well, FiberGeneration (hence Testing 2.0, by the way) will start its new life as a startup on December 1st - this year.
Here's why (by Paul Graham of seed investment firm Y Combinators).
With traders still living in their own crazy world, no doubt the overall situation is set to be even tougher for entrepreneurs. That's what makes entrepreneurship fun.
For the rest of us who were not born with an embedded calculator and did not graduate to an MBA, here's THE video that explains the reason why the World is going right into deep sh*t. Watch and listen to "Marketplace Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch [who] gives
a bubbly explanation of the intricacies of collateralized debt
obligations those financial instruments that got us into this financial
Since a few days, I've got the furious impression that the actual crisis is repeating the very same patterns than the Dotcom' crash *. When I saw the description of the CDO collateralized debt obligations loop, I saw the very same problem than the one we in the Telecoms/IT industry suffered back in 1998-2000, during the first Bubble : the guys who make the big money are totally disconnected from the guys who are supposed to pay. At this time, the whole Telecoms industry was B2B. Remember Telecom'99 in Geneva ? 90% of the exhibitors were there to exhibit their stuff (prototypes, commercial products, booth hostesses) to the other exhibitors. You and me as the real end-user/consumer ? Nowhere to see.
The fact is, once you insert an intermediate party between you and the customer, you screw up the whole stuff. That's exactly what happened with the Dotcom Bubble, wherein every startup was trying to reach you and me with no clue on how do it, whilst every established firm was selling its products roadmap to other established firms with even-greater products roadmap. Anecdote (may I disappear right away from my captain chair if I lie here) : back in november 2000, I heard of a potential deal of 1 billion USD between Nortel and Agilent Technologies. 1 billion USD. For a company (Agilent Technologies) who did $11B for its first year of existence.
The actual turmoil has been caused by the very same defective link with the customer - read : the house' s owner. Watch the video :
Thanks to Garr Reynolds of PresentationZen for the heads up. By the way, why such a video on a blog which aims at everything "presentation" ? Simply because this explanation of a very complex process is made very simple. Mr Hirsch proves that once you master your topic, you don't need Powerpoint. Give me a paperboard, and I'll explain you Fiber Optics ;-)
*post-scriptum : I'm still looking for any information, link, contact name, whatever, on this french researcher who published a study back in september 2003, on the fractals applied to Economy. Back then, the guy simply announced the crisis we're enjoying (joke) today, saying that the downturn is going to be harder and longer than the one we've seen in 2000.
[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.
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...
As I am preparing the Back To The (Fiber) School season, which is going to start quite strongly in a couple of weeks, I am digging into my personal archives to put together some fancy tutorials on Technology and Markets trends.
Among a couple of interesting things that I've re-discovered, I found this slide - part of a 140-slides training binder that I've created back in 1992. It shows the theorical minimum attenuation of so-called "infra-red optical fibers. Take Fluoride fiber for instance : 0.001 dB/km kind of order of magnitude. A 100 times less (means : 100 times better) than the best of the best optical fibers currently manufactured for submarine systems (the Formula One of Optical Communications, that is).
This slide is 16-years old. Those magical fibers are still under the hood of some secret labs somewhere on the Planet (Corning might be one of those). Why ? My take is that this technology is such a fantastic leap frog (remember : attenuation 100 times better than the best fiber today) that its introduction will induce a complete revamp of the actual network design and construction methods. New cables, new splice boxes, new splicing process, new connectors, new test instruments. Plus, on top, new transmission systems. The whole supply chain to be changed.
For an industry which is just recovering from a quite heavy downturn period, such a paradigm shift is not yet welcome. Let's wait for the (almost) whole world to be Fiber-To-The-Home cabled, and then you'll see the first field trials popping up here and there (my take : US first ;-) to test those new fibers in some long-haul links.
Because when the World (almost) will be Fiber-To-The-Home cabled, the Optical Communications industry will need to create a new market to sustain its development. Considering that the actual long-haul/core networks infrastructures won't be able to carry the Internet traffic as it will be in 10 years - or even less - from now, new fibers are mandatory. If I had some money to spend on the Stock Market, I definitely would rate Corning as a "Buy"...
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.
Question : Who the heck developed this mission-critical app ?
Next question : When the hell will the big guys (hey, you're seeing a large bank here) realize that Windows really sucks ?
That is one of the headlines on the FTTH Council Europe homepage :
" Public and private interests in Portugal have this week made a series of ambitious and immediate commitments to FTTH investment that could propel the nation into the top tier of European fibre nations.
On Friday 4th July, the Portuguese government set the target of 1 million FTTH connections by 2010, and there is every indication that this will be achieved as carriers Sonaecom and Portugal Telecom announced investment plans to potentially exceed this number before the end of the decade.
Incumbent telco Portugal Telecom forecast connecting 100,000 homes by the end of this year and a total of 1 million by the end of 2009.
In February, alternative operator Sonaecom announced a €240m FTTH roll-out to reach around a quarter of Portugal’s 10.6 million population. Its project completion is anticipated three years from now."
So, Portugal enters the Ultra-Broadband race with a quite aggressive plan.
In the meantime, FTTH deployments are still on hold (sort of) in France, with the three major telcos : FT-Orange, SFR-NeufCegetel, and Free waiting (sort of) or the final decision by the Authority of Regulation ARCEP on the mutualisation.
OK-derle, Portugal is a small country compared to France - say 6 times smaller population-wise. However, 1 million connected homes by 2012 as target goal defined by the Portuguese government is more aggressive than the one set by the French government - 4 million homes (link in french) - when compared to the respective population numbers : for Portugal, the ratio is 1:10, whilst for France it is 1:16. Ever heard of the Digital Divide ?...
Since beginning of this year I owe have sent approximately 5 tons of CO2 to into the precious air of Mother Earth to date.
I'd better define my compensation plan quickly, shall I want to stick with the Sustainable Development concept...
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.
Yesterday morning on my way to the FTTH Forum organized by the French Fiber-Lobbying association CREDO at the Telecom & Management Institute of Evry, 30-km south of Paris, I've lost almost 60 minutes.
The reason ? Watch the photo, and you'll understand : the A104 "La Francilienne" highway is one of the most crowded in the country, thanks to those awful convoys of trucks.
Why that ? Because : a) in this part of the Greater Paris area, the A104 makes the connection between the A4 highway which goes eastbound, and the A6 which goes southbound; b) this very piece of land is occupied by a handful of super-malls and... giant logistics/warehouse/whatsoever-big-chunk-not-producing-any-good hubs; c) just a few miles away, there is a huge road construction on the bridge over the Seine river, which forces drivers to slow down their already slow speed.
That's France, Ladies & Gents. An economy based on Consumerism. No more industries, as per the German terminology. We are a country made of shopping malls and logistics hubs. Commuters do waste hours in traffic jams each day because of some truck on a road somewhere has got a problem. Road constructions takes ages because of nobody cares of the end-user - read : the driver. We all together do send tons of CO2 in the air because of those stupidities. A vicious circle, like this road on the photo.
The irony : I've lost my time on the road to a conference aimed at Fiber-To-The-Home, which, among endless other things, allows teleworking.
CNN Dubai reports :
" High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.
Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.
Industry experts are blaming damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.
Reports say that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain Pakistan and India, are all experiencing severe problems.
Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel -- whose traffic uses a different route -- and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure."
As stated by one of the interviewed ISPs, this pretty severe outage is a wake up call for the region. But also for the whole Telecoms industry : it's time to stop lay offs and start lay out new cables. Dear submarine systems makers, you've got a bright future ahead of you !
Just like in the mid-90's, when the big projects such as FLAG and SeaMeWe appeared.
The difference ? Today, there are people at the end of the fiber. Applications. Business. Users.
It's showtime for the real Net Economy, folks !
Digging into the FiberGeneration' s stats of the day, it appears that more than one guy from Quebec, Canada, searched Google for JDSU + EXFO. Hum. Something in the air there, isn't it ?
Robert Scoble has posted a very long article on how to find a job during recession. Worth reading, provided the current situation in the Global Economy.
Here are a couple of my favorites, based on my own experience back in 2003 when I had to leave Agilent Technologies - should TypePad and YouTube have exist at this time (I think TypePad was in its early stage online by then), I would have jumped on them to do exactly what Scoble suggests. Hey, I've got the job with the city of Pau thanks to the Blogosphere, and I've discovered the wonderful world of WebTV last year thanks to Usenet. Lesson : listen to what Scoble says.
Here we go, with my own comments/feedback.
6. Do a video everyday on YouTube that demonstrates something you know. Loic does a video everyday. If you’re laid off you have absolutely no excuses. Get a cheap Web cam and get over to YouTube or Seesmic.Do it. It'll pay back quickly. That's the true aim of the so-called Web 2.0 : help people make connections faster.
10. Go to any job networking session you learn about. All of them were valuable to me, even though they didn’t necessarily bring me a job. Part of it is just feeling like you’re doing everything you can to get back on your feet. It’s an attitude thing. If you have an attitude that you’re going to work at this that will come across and will bring opportunities to you.I'll never forget the workshop sessions at the outplacement consulting firm I've been to thanks to my severance package at Agilent. Outstanding outcomes. For instance : at the very first workshop I've attended, I was with C-level people, from many different areas; industry, computing, bank, consulting, even politics (the chief of staff of a very popular yet powerful mayor of a city nearby Paris). It helped me realize two things : a) I was definitely not the only forced to look for a new job, b) I am a C-level guy (well, of the free-electron type ;-)
16. Go to every business event you can attend. Can’t afford to get in? Me neither and I have a job! Hang out in the hallways. You never know who you might meet. At minimum you’ll get interesting interviews for your blog. Have your resumes ready.My worst regret, when I look back at the 2003-2005 period. I didn't take enough time to attend those business events. I learned the hard way how proactive networking is mandatory (just because, before being laid off by Agilent, I never ever had to look for a new job : I always had the chance to meet the right persons at the right time).
Full post here.
French video sharing site DailyMotion is bidding for the French Soccer Premier League TV broadcast rights (actually, the VOD online magazine part) for seasons 2008 to 2012. The startup competes against medias giants Canal+, TF1 and France Télévisions, TV channels M6, Eurosport, and Direct8, but also against telcos Orange and SFR.
No matter the final decision by the League, the fact that a WebTV platform is offering its services shows how things are moving fast. Industry shake-up, you said ?...
See here for more details (link in french).
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).
I'm not talking of Master Steve nor his clone, but of Mr Greenspan.
In his recent interview by the Wall Street Journal, Master Of Disasters and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that the United States are probably about to enter recession : "The symptoms are clearly there. Recessions don't happen smoothly. They are usually signaled by a discontinuity in the market place, and the data of recent weeks could very well be characterized in that manner."
Shall I be american today, I'd better get everything ready to relocate somewhere in Europe quickly. Because what Mr Greenspan says always come true half a year later (I'll never forget that I've lost my job at Agilent Technologies because of him ;-)
According to Yahoo! a few minutes ago : Oil Futures Rise to $100 a Barrel. Read here. Better consider swapping your 4x4 truck for an hybrid.
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 !...