With the growing proliferation of intelligent connected devices and burgeoning appetite for cloud-based services and applications, much is being made these days of the Digital Society and its potential to transform lives (personal and business).
What's sometimes forgotten is that connected devices and next-generation applications need a high-capacity and highly reliable network infrastructure if they are to function to their full potential, and those networks need to avoid bottlenecks, whether in the long-distance, metro, backhaul, access or even in-building links.
That's why the development of next-generation broadband networks is key to a Digital Europe: High-speed city, regional and national networks are the enablers for Europe's economic development and services innovation. (See Gigabit Cities: I've Seen the Future.)
But who's going to build and run those networks?
That's one of the many questions we'll be debating at Gigabit Europe in Munich (September 29 & 30), a two-day conference that has the unofficial tagline, Where Beer & Broadband Come Together.*
(*Thanks to the team from Iskratel, experts in the integration of beer and broadband, for that inspirational tagline).
The beer element comes from the timing and location of the event, as Munich will still be hosting its annual Oktoberfest beer festival as well as Gigabit Europe in late September, so bring your drinking boots as well as your business cards to the event.
The broadband element is obvious. What's not so obvious is which technologies will prevail as high-speed access networks are built around Europe -- vectoring, G.fast, LTE+, GPON, WDM-PON, DOCSIS 3.0/3.1 and others are all options -- and how those networks will be funded. We'll be looking at those topics too.
And there's another critical 'B' to be considered -- the business case. That's going to be front and center throughout the Gigabit Europe event, with an in-depth analysis of network and service economics from event partner Ventura Team , updates from gigabit network operators that already have experience of running next-generation networks, such as JT (from the island of Jersey) and CityFibre , and perspectives from experienced traditional network operators such as BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA).
At the end of the two-day event we'll have a rounded, technology-agnostic picture of the key challenges and opportunities facing telcos, ISPs, cable operators, web services firms, municipalities and utility companies as they seek to play their role in the development of Europe's Gigabit society.
And then we'll head to the Oktoberfest celebrations. I hope to see you there for insight, networking and a beer or three.
In the meantime, here's some of our coverage on this topic:
- TalkTalk Unveils Cut-Price Gigabit Service
- BT, Allied Telesis Foresee Broadband Future
- A Guide to G.fast
- Ireland's Eircom Launches 1 Gbit/s FTTH
- UK's Gigaclear Raises $46M for Rural Gigabit
- Eurobites: Swisscom Claims G.fast First
- CityFibre, TalkTalk & Sky to Speed Up York FTTH Rollout
- CityFibre Sees Backhaul Interest From O2, Vodafone
- Virgin Media Plots £3B Invasion of BT Turf
- Europe's FTTH Subs to Double by 2019
- Time for Gigabit Europe?
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading