Archive for the ‘The Blog’ Category

New regulations for in-building fiber access infrastructure in Greece

On the 15th October, the new set of regulations for in-building wiring and cable infrastructure was ratified by the Greek competent authorities. With the new regulation, all new building will be equipped with  special ducting systems to facilitate the installation of fiber cables from the basement to every home and apartment. Special provisions to facilitate the installation of other passive and active equipment from the network and service providers in the basement of the buildings are also taken into consideration. The provisions require that installation of 2 fibers be possible per apartment, thus two network providers may simultaneously offer access services.

However, the installation of the fiber optic cable is not mandatory, it is optional. This means that when cables are not installed during construction, the connection to an FTTH network will require extra labor (i.e. financial cost and time delay) – lay the fiber inside the ducts and connect the customer to the network. Considering the minimal additional cost of installing the fibers during construction, I hope that the relevant authorities make the necessary amendments to the text soon and save everyone from the trouble and cost when it would be most needed.

The regulation can be retrieved from the National Printing House.



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Another day made of Glass

A follow up video by Corning on the improvements of fiber and glass technologies. You can watch the ‘first part’ there. I love these vids.

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Will Italy become a showcase of co-investments in FTTP rollouts

The announcement of Fastweb and Telecom Italia of a  joint investment plan in a FTTC network relates to a series of similar announcements by major Italian operators.

According to the press release, Fastweb plans to contribute 400 million euros in this project. Telecom Italia sees this as part of its longer-term  strategy to offer 100Mbps in 100 cities across the country. The Italian telco has already inked deals with other fixed-line operators within this long-term investment plan.

The first time Italian broadband was in the center of the industry’s spotlights was back in the early 2000s when Fastweb was deploying its vast fiber access network in  Milan. Today, Italy may become again a showcase for fiber enabled broadband access. An increasing number of local players endorses some of the core recommendations of the European Commission for accelerating FTTP rollouts and chooses to co-invest in the access network with former competitors and current “coopetitors”.

Whether these plans develop as planned is a big question mark. In the past, regulation, mostly, and competitive responses has often entangled with the announcements and intentions of the Italian operators.

On a final note, the strategy of Telecom Italia stretches beyond its FTTC co-investment plans. Last week, Telecom Italia COO Marco Patuano expressed the intention to consider a separation of the access and service business of the Italian incumbent. That is surely something to keep an eye on in the future. If it materializes it will be the second similar case after UK’s BT.


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Broadband in Hollywood spotlights

Academy award winner Geena Davies have addressed last week the UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development and called for action to bring broadband opportunities closer to women and girls [link].

The initiative highlights the gender broadband gap dimension, next to a list of others that we are more used to talk about such as age gap, geography gap and so on. The interesting part is that policies for accelerating broadband diffusion attracts the attention of politically active Hollywood stars and soon, I suspect, would hit the mainstream press.

High-technology frequently becomes part of a movie plot. I recall Cellular with Kim Basinger having been kidnapped and using  a broken telephone to call a random phone number, the cell of a young man, and ask for help. It was a nice thriller film featuring all attributes of mobile telephony: signal strength, coverage, battery power, etc.

I saw one of the few, as of yet, direct references to fiber broadband in a movie this summer. Just before the rise of the Dark Knight the police chief  confronted with a hostage situation  involving billions of money, blood and fast cars asked his staff to “[..] cut the fiber” along with the electric supply. That was cool!

But still, that was brief (and most likely few only strange people have noticed it!). When will we see fiber broadband in the center of the plot? I look forward to it!

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Robert Madelin on DG Connect planned actions

Robert Madelin, director general DG Connect on broadband infrastructure gave an interesting interview to Jennifer Baker of vi/eu/ws. According to the general director, DG Connect is planning to announce a regulatory framework for next-generation access networks in the next 6 months that will ensure regulatory stability in the NGA infrastructure market and will provide the appropriate framework for large-scale investments in broadband infrastructures. Robert Madelin express its doubts that removing all controls and oversight from the market would contribute to a more attractive investment environment for broadband infrastructures.

You can watch the 6 minutes interview here or by clicking on the video below:


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Mom, see? I’m on TV

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Kontra Channel’s Terra Incognita talk show regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the impact of its possible application in Europe to citizens and Internet users.

One of my major points of argument during the interview was that it is highly unlikely that ACTA would be included in its current form in a Commission’s directive or be part of national legislation among EU member states, on both social and economic grounds. Apart from whether monitoring the activity of Internet users would constitute a violation of civil rights, the costs related to monitoring the Internet traffic to track counterfeiting activity are ridiculously high. In addition, Policy makers in Europe increasingly understand internet access as a fundamental human right. As such, citizens should not be disconnected from the Internet even if the connection is used for illegal activities.

The enforcement of ACTA’s provisions cannot solve the problems faced by the creative media industry, namely the music and movies industries. Technology has made the replication of digital content easier, that’s a fact, and by going after every user that might reproduce or share copyrighted content is not the solution, otherwise all of the youtube and facebook users and all the bloggers sharing videos in their posts would be facing legal charges already and that’s includes pretty much everyone.

Here’s the 2 hour talk show for those that haven’t seen it. It is in Greek. If, however, you want to see me speaking go to the 4th minute for the first batch of interviews (ahem, I rumble a little at the beginning) and skip to the 1 hour and 15 minutes mark for the second batch. For the record, all Terra Incognita shows are already available on youtube by the production team.

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Internet entrepreneurship: Pondering about an innovation paradigm from the 80s

How similar are the context and the socioeconomic implications of the Internet entrepreneurship of today and the music inspiration of the 70s and 80s?

Everyone would probably recall  that in the 70s and 80s the world experienced a mass production of music by young visionaries and ambitious musicians. At the time, teenagers and young adults kept a picture of their idols Bono, Mick or Bruce or a poster on the wall of their bedroom. They were dreaming of world careers and utter success. And all that in rough times and while the world was recovering from a severe oil and financial crisis. Many young men and women saw music as a way out from their troubles and into glamour and fame. Their ambitions were incubated by a widespread system of live clubs, record labels and so forth.

Fast forward today, a similar trend is developing: mass creation of added value in the digital economy, with the launch of niche (and sometimes not-so-niche) services by ambitious young programmers and marketeers. These young adults with entrepreneurial passion are picturing themselves in the shoes of the great Jobs, Zuckerberg and Gates. The world is also going through a crisis today. Those visionaries’ ambitions are again incubated by a facilitating system based on open source software, user mobility, and broadband connectivity.

It might worth taking a closer look to the socioeconomic implications of the development of the music industry in the 70s. There are strong social, as well as economic, similarities between the music industry of the past and the electronic services industry of today to steer away of acknowledging them. People see a ray of hope in the digital world, a thin ray that only the innovation in a broadband-supported service ecosystem can help them tame it.

And in addition, music and entrepreneurship are both nurtured in a form of open access platforms. Many live music clubs and concerts gave the opportunity to all to give it a try. Open source communities and a constantly increasing interest for user-generated content in the Internet today follows a similar trajectory. Everyone can have his chance. Just as everyone had it 30 years ago.

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FTTH in Alsace

FTTH in Alsace

739px Flag of Alsace.svg  FTTH in AlsaceAlsace is planning for its own fiber access network after the recent approval of the Master Plan of Territorial Digital Planning by the competent public authorities. The plan considers a 407 million euros investment up to 2030 to supply fiber connections to residents and businesses in the area. The plan aims at a network that covers more than half of the population. The cost per connection is estimated at 1,000 euros. I’m not sure if the project qualifies for EU subsidy (it probably does not) as it is and I am genuinely interested in see how these plans will materialize.

For more read:

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People can do anything, but not alone

People can do anything, but not alone. This simple short sentence summarizes how many professionals and citizens in Chattanooga  / Tennessee feel about the implications of their city’s fiber access network to their lives and jobs. Citizens in interconnected communities find ways to work more productively and live better; more than ever before. Fiber access is seen as a platform to facilitate a more efficient working environment  and a greater impact of  ideas. Most certainly, one plus one makes more than two.



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The World of Fiber

world map fiber optics global connect gold BBP 600 The World of Fiber

Similarly to previous years, network providers continued in 2011 to eye FTTP networks as an option to upgrade their access facilities and differentiate themselves from the competition. The new report “The World of Fiber – 2012 edition” prepared by yours truly and released last week by Diffraction Analysis offers an in-depth analysis and supportive data of what is happening in the world with regards to FTTP. What becomes most apparent in our analysis is that the number of countries where FTTP is happening  either by governments that take a serious look at the topic or by forward-looking private firms continues to grow. The report also features a taxonomy of network providers and their corresponding roll-out strategies. This taxonomy provides insight on the similarities and differences of these actors on the basis of their core business (telcos, cable TV providers, alternative operators, public agencies and real-estate developers) and the characteristics of the geographical markets.

This is a free-to-get report and you can have it if you ask for it. Be sure to expect more insight on the global FTTP market in a new, more analytical version of the report, which will be available soon. For more information visit the web site of Diffraction Analysis.

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