A total of 282 industry executives and media members attended the conference, with an additional 1,623 folk registering for the exhibition only. The event was collocated with three other Penton exhibitions -- Service Provider Europe, Streaming Media Europe, and Content Management -- which together attracted a total of 3,790 visitors.
Encouragingly for the industry, the carrier community was well represented at LightSpeed Europe, with 90-plus service provider VIPs attending the event from all over Europe.
They included incumbent carriers British Telecommunications plc (BT) (NYSE: BTY; London: BTA), Cesky Telecom (Czech Telecom), Sonera Corp. (Nasdaq: SNRA), Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), and Telekomunikacja Polska (Polish Telecom).
The list goes on: Cable & Wireless (NYSE: CWP), Colt Telecom Group plc (Nasdaq: COLT; London: CTM.L), Cypress Communications, Energis plc (OTC: ENGSY), FLAG Telecom Group Ltd. (OTC: FLHLQ), Global Crossing Holdings Ltd., Neos Networks, NTL Inc. (Nasdaq Europe: NTLI), Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE), Tiscali SpA, and WorldCom Inc. (OTC: WCOEQ) were also represented at a high level.
Some of the conference sessions -- notably the ones on Ethernet and metro technologies -- played to packed audiences and included heated debates. Here's a roundup of highlights coming out of the show:
- Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) chose the show to introduce its OPTera Metro 4150 -- a new version of the OPTera Metro 4000 family of multiservice platforms targeting SDH markets in Europe and elsewhere (see Nortel Expands Metro SDH Line).
- Mick Reeve, CTO of BTexact Technologies, and previously BT's chief network architect, held forth on a program called "21st Century Network" -- a five-year project to examine and decide on a next-gen optical network architecture for the U.K.'s incumbent carrier. Reeve's analysis leads him to believe broadband will drive capacity demand to the core from 300+ Gbit/s today to somewhere between 700 Gbit/s and 7 Tbit/s (yes, really) by 2006 -- depending on how broadband access services shape up. The wildcards are video-on-demand, business video session over IP, and the uptake of very-high-speed broadband access.
- Duncan Lewis, former chief of Ebone, excused himself from his keynote speech, citing an NDA that prevented him talking about financing of alternative carriers. Speculation abounds, but so far no one has managed to pin down exactly what deal he's working on (see Former Ebone Chief Resurfaces).
- Light Reading promptly stepped into the breach left by Lewis, by hosting a discussion of the Top Ten Service Provider Innovators in Europe (see Europe Is Calling). A final list of innovators is due to be published next Monday on the Service Provider Circle. (Sneak preview: Peter Lothberg -- "free spirit and consultant" -- got the No. 1 spot.)
- A session on Ethernet in the First Mile nearly came to fisticuffs, proving that folk can still get passionate about networking. Hosted by Light Reading's director of research, Scott Clavenna, the panel agreed that Ethernet access would be a winner. The key message was loud and clear: as panel speaker Neil Fairbrother of Neos Networks put it, "Ethernet needs to go native." It doesn’t have to be Metro Ethernet Forum- or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)-compliant. "You can get it to the customer any way that works: copper, fiber, leased circuits from BT, or microwave."
- While service providers came in droves, components players mostly stayed away. An analyst hour on the topic of tunable lasers was sparsely attended, despite the panel's rather upbeat conclusion: "Two years from now, every laser in a network will be tunable," contends James Regan, marketing manager for Europe at Agility Communications Inc. Positive signs of progress included the fact that higher levels of integration and standardization were starting to happen among tunable laser vendors (see Components Standards: Key to Survival).