& cplSiteName &

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
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Shades of Ray
What to Expect at MWC 2017

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


5G is set to dominate as the key buzz term at this year's Mobile World Congress but there are other pressing 4G matters to address.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa: A Lot More Than SD-WAN

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kelly Ahuja, the new CEO of Versa Networks, speaks with Steve Saunders of Light Reading about how Versa offers much more than just SD-WAN, and its plan to grow market adoption in 2017.
LRTV Documentaries
Facebook Gets Physical With Its Security Strategy

1|31|17   |   00:48   |   (0) comments


Facebook has introduced new measures that will enable users to secure access to their accounts using a physical 'key' application.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO: M&A Coming but Not Quite Yet
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/14/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?
P. Tracy Currie, CEO and Co-Founder, Capto Consulting, 2/13/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.