Europe Is Calling

Travel east from North America and, after a while, you'll bump into Europe. You can't miss it. It's chock full of castles and cathedrals and other old muck. It's also crawling with carriers doing all sorts of interesting stuff. But take a look at the Top 10 Service Provider Innovators we compiled for our Service Provider Circle, based largely on reader nominations, and you're hard pressed to bump into anyone that hails from the right side of the puddle. In fact you'll find just the one – Italian Mauro Sentinelli of Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (Milan: TIM), an inspiring character in the world of wireless and winner of the World's Fastest Talker competition 2001 (unofficial). So what's the deal? Is Europe a desert of innovation? Are the telecom flag bearers just shy, perhaps? Or maybe you thought someone else would nominate the person you know should have been a contender? Well, now's the time to right a wrong. We want you to tell us who should be on our "Top 10 European Service Provider Innovators" list (a.k.a. "EuroHeroes") that will be unveiled at the Lightspeed Europe 02 conference and exhibition (Earls Court, London, December 3-5).

We are looking for the folk who stand out as inspirational figures in the service provider sector, who have broken new ground or advanced the market with ideas, strategies, and actions.

Obviously, TIM's Sentinelli will feature in that list, but who are the contenders for the other nine places? Here are some suggestions.
  • Jonas Birgersson, a war-games fanatic who managed to make broadband-to-the-home a political issue in Sweden. Birgersson forced the pace by founding Bredbandsbolaget AB (B2) – a feat that earned him a brief spell on Light Reading's Top 10 Movers and Shakers. Perhaps we were wrong for turfing him off a few months later?

  • Silvio Scaglia, CEO at eBiscom, the majority owner of Italian optical network carrier Fastweb. Scaglia has been the driving force behind the startup, which has built metro networks in Bologna, Milan, Rome, Genoa, Naples, and Turin, to offer such things as interactive TV, fixed voice service, and Internet access.
  • Charles McGregor, CEO of Fibernet Group plc (London: FIB), a metro network operator and service provider that started in the late 1990s boom time – and survived! McGregor stuck to his guns and refused to expand wildly, either with finances or infrastructure, when VCs were throwing money at European network startups.
  • Jacques Veyrat, VP and director general at French service provider LDCom Networks, which has built itself an increasingly competitive position in the wholesale and enterprise service provider market in France through a series of clever acquisitions and network IRUs during the past two years, just as others were taking fright.
  • John Wheeler, CEO of Neos Networks, which operates an MPLS Ethernet network that provides national and metro Gigabit Ethernet services in the U.K. This man deserves a shout simply for naming his on-demand upgrade service "Liquid Bandwidth."
  • Werner Hanf, managing director of German service provider NetCologne, which recently started offering bandwidth on demand across its Gigabit Ethernet networks in Cologne and Bonn.
  • Juha Heinanen, last seen working for Telia AB, but credited with rolling out the world's first examples of LAN-interconnect services, Frame Relay, and ATM while working for Finland's Sonera Corp. (Nasdaq: SNRA).
  • Peter Lothberg, another Swedish guy who deserves a lot of credit – not just for playing a key role in designing some hefty Internet backbones and for not swallowing any nonsense about Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) (see MPLS Gets Lukewarm Reviews), but also for still speaking to us after we teased him unfairly (see The Has-Been Bin).
There must be plenty more candidates, Dear Reader, but we need you to tell us who deserves to make it into Europe's Telecom Services Hall of Fame. All you have to do is use the message board at the foot of this article and tell us what you think. And make Europe proud!

(Those who are shy of public spaces may submit nominations more discreetly via: [email protected].)

— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung, and
  Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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