Light Reading

Steely Neelie's FTTX Face Off

Ray Le Maistre
7/14/2011
50%
50%

10:55 AM -- Whatever the outcome, someone's going to lose. "Steely" Neelie Kroes, vice-president for the Digital Agenda at the European Commission , is weighing up her options on how to make her broadband plan (at least 30 Mbit/s for every citizen by 2020) a reality rather than just a pipe dream. (See Europe's Broadband Challenge.)

Every indication from the past few days is that she's going to be presiding over a major scrap that has "La neutralité de l'Internet" winding up the punches. (See Euronews: FTTX Players Need Incentives and Euronews: Big Three Take Swipe at Net Neutrality.)

Going on previous form, Kroes (already regarded as a living legend by EuroBlog) will put the interests of the European Union's 500 million residents first and the interests of businesses and pressure groups second. The problem is, unless she pleases a key set of those business and pressure groups, quite a few of those EU citizens might get trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide.

As ever, the key stumbling block is investment -- hundreds of billions of euros of investment during the next eight or so years. The network operators with the capital and wherewithal to build next-generation broadband networks -- we're talking fiber-to-the-whatever here -- won't invest heavily without some assurances around the use of their networks, particularly by the so-called "over-the-top" players such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX).

Kroes knows the ground. In a statement yesterday she noted that there isn't a consensus among the interested parties and that she will be examining every document and idea thrown her way during discussions held during the past few months.

Well, here's an idea. Take a look at Australia and Singapore. Those countries have decided that the best way to build a truly digital economy, where everyone can get a broadband connection and gain access to a multitude of services on an open access basis, is to build a single high-speed network that can be used by all retail service providers. It costs a lot of money and it involves a great deal of pain for the incumbents, but it's happening. And in a few years, Australia and Singapore will reap the benefits of being true 21st century economies. (See Australia Preps Digital Economy Strategy, Australia Clears NBN Hurdle and Singapore Makes FTTH Strides .)

Any country, with enough political will, can achieve this. Of course there's money involved too and the European Union is suffering from a number of well publicized economic difficulties currently, especially in Greece, Ireland and Portugal, while even major economies such as Italy are wavering.

But have you noticed how much money is always instantly available every time a conflict brews? It seems the budgets for vital resources such as education, health and domestic security can be considered for the chop but there's always cash available for weapons from a seemingly bottomless pit of cash.

If warheads can be funded, then so can open access broadband networks. It just takes some hard-nosed commitment and rigid political will to want the best for the region and to empower the populace.



So, how badly does the European Union want to be a truly digital economy? We'll see. I suspect it won't want it badly enough and it won't be the fault of Kroes. As usual, though, the interest of large business will win out while regular residents -- ironically, the people that ultimately fund those big businesses by paying their communications and entertainment bills -- will lose out.

C'est la guerre.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
menahemk
50%
50%
menahemk,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:59:08 PM
re: Steely Neelie's FTTX Face Off


Mostly accurate, apart from reference to "warheads". These are not funded either. EU defence budgets have been dwindling over the years and EU is not able to sustain any action without US (look at the ratio between cruise missiles fired at Libya by US and EU). 

More Blogs from EuroBlog
Having taken a breather from its acquisition spree in the US, Zayo could kick-start some infrastructure consolidation action in Europe
Some good news for its Finnish parent – Nokia Siemens Networks is on a margin roll
Telefónica to boost its broadband lines in LatAm with DSL management the from ASSIA
According to the value of Nokia's takeover deal, Nokia Siemens Networks is worth less than $5B
As APAC and North America forge ahead, Europe seems stuck in yesteryear
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
Verizon Hums a Driving Tune
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/26/2015
Gogo Approved to Speed Up In-Flight WiFi
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/24/2015
Could Market Volatility Hurt Tech IPOs?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/24/2015
Sprint's Claure: '3 to 5 Years' to Turnaround
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about data center, cloud and the impact of virtualization in the coming years.
Cats with Phones
Cats Are a Smartphone's Best Friend Click Here
Whoever said cats didn't live to please their humans?