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Is There Any Hope for Europe?

Ray Le Maistre
6/27/2013
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Is it just me, or does it feel like Europe is wearing a digital blindfold?

The past few days have really highlighted the seemingly growing gulf between Europe's approach to the modern, digital world and those of the two regions it most competes with for investment, North America and Asia/Pacific.

Looking east we have seen the pride SK Telecom has shown in launching its LTE-Advanced service and how NTT Communications Corp. is leading the way on the deployment of software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities in a telco environment. (See NTT Advances Carrier SDN and SK Telecom Debuts LTE-Advanced.)

Glancing west, 4G and LTE-Advanced developments abound, while investments in ground-breaking networking, IP and applications technologies appear legion. (See Intel Aims to Cut NFV Latency, Cisco Drops Hints About Insieme & SDN, AT&T Opens New Innovation Labs, T-Mobile to Debut LTE-A 'Features' in 2013 and Verizon Completes LTE Rollout, Turns to VoLTE as examples from the past few days.)

Meanwhile, in Europe, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have agreed the latest steps toward introducing the Connecting Europe Facility, an infrastructure investment plan that had its broadband component decimated earlier this year. (See Europe's Broadband Nightmare.)

And here in Britland, we have managed to sabotage some of our own fiber network investment plans and, instead, the government plans to hand out vouchers so that companies can use the existing not-so-high-speed broadband services on offer from the very companies that managed to block the new rollouts. (See Euronews: UK Fiber Funding in Disarray.)

Can you spot the regional differences?

That's not to say there isn't anything of worth happening in Europe, but these examples portray the general mentality -- one that doesn't factor in the importance of digital infrastructure in the modern age -- that is weighing Europe down.

Europe needs to get a grip or find itself tagged as a Tier 2 region.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Ray Le Maistre
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Ray Le Maistre,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/3/2013 | 7:06:02 AM
re: Is There Any Hope for Europe?
That was 9 billion euros of EU funding for telecom infrastructure that disappeared and it was the EU that has implemented roaming charge caps that have impacted every single mobile operator in the region -- the impact the EU might have had in the coming years has been diminished by the Connecting Europe Facility decision. It's the regional mentality I'm worried about...
lrmobile_jepovic
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lrmobile_jepovic,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/1/2013 | 10:04:16 AM
re: Is There Any Hope for Europe?
Europe is not a country, it's a continent with dozens of small countries. Telco is handled on a national level here, with EU playing a very small role. There are countries which are way ahead of the US, and some which are way behind. Same thing in Asia, but no one expects Indonesia to have as good infrastructure as Japan.

By the way, I'm still waiting for the first reactions on the revelations in der Spiegel about NSA eavesdropping on German citizens. Could be bad news for Cisco, I would say, and may in the worst case result in a return to use of national suppliers for telco equipment. For instance, will Cisco and other US suppliers be trusted with supplying equipment for the German government in the future? It will be very difficult to argue, especially legally, that for instance Cisco is a safer supplier than Huawei
JVerity
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JVerity,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/30/2013 | 9:17:58 PM
re: Is There Any Hope for Europe?
There was a piece in the NYTimes recently, written by a Verizon exec, extolling the virtues of USA's approach to broadband vs. Europe's. From all I have ever heard, Europeans enjoy much better service than those of us in US; German friend has 20Mbps or something, and lots of other services bundled in. And at the same time, there is much moaning here in US about how our backward approach to building out broadband is keeping the nation as a whole with one foot nailed to the ground when it comes to global competitiveness, etc. etc. And Verizon and the cable companies are generally blamed for this, acting as oligarchs. I tend to believe that.
Gabriel Brown
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Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/28/2013 | 1:51:10 PM
re: Is There Any Hope for Europe?
Give the EE LTE network a whirl in the U.K. It's good.
stenling
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stenling,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/28/2013 | 5:36:57 AM
re: Is There Any Hope for Europe?
You're welcome to Sweden to test our national LTE network... :-)
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