Keep On Keepin' ON

8:40 AM-- In broadband terms, Greece is the poor man of Europe. According to statistics from the European Commission , it has the lowest broadband penetration rate, just 3.3 percent, of any of the European Union's 25 member states. (See Bienvenue to €287B.)

That doesn't mean there isn't any potential for creative new service startups, though. In the middle of the country a bunch of towns are building their own municipal networks, using fiber and wireless broadband gear, and plan to link them to create a regional next-generation network. (Dig down into this article: Public WiFi Comes to Paris.)

And in the capital, Athens, a new service startup, ON Telecoms S.A. , is taking on the incumbent, OTE S.A. , by offering a triple-play package, including 10-Mbit/s broadband and IPTV, to residential users, and business services. (Dig down into this article: IPTV Roundup: Tandberg TV's Big Hit.)

ON has just announced another two technology suppliers -- it's using Orca Interactive Ltd. 's IPTV middleware, and has sourced its oh-so-important billing system from Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL). (See Orca Wins Greek Deal and ON Uses Oracle.)

Yes, that Oracle. Larry Ellison, in case you hadn't noticed, doesn't just want carriers using his firm's databases, he wants to supply a whole range of software to support, manage, and even create telecom services, and has been splashing Oracle's cash to build up a telecom software arsenal. (See Oracle Buys More OSS With MetaSolv, Oracle Acquires Portal, and Oracle Buying Into Service Delivery .)

So ON Telecoms is an interesting company to watch for a number of reasons. First, can it make money in the Greek value-added services market. Second, will its enabling systems, which appear to have been chosen, tested and deployed in a relatively short timeframe, deliver the goods?

Watch this space.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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