Thursday, 10 February 2011
This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com
The final plenary made it clear how important it is for the EU countries to work together to create a single market for digital content, and fibre is the only way to achieve this. 100Mbps was dissed as a very low bar throughout the conference and the final plenary was no exception.
For those who still think a USC of 2Mbps is sufficient, and who cannot see why or how better connectivity is required and can be achieved, well, where the hell were you?!
The FTTH showcase highlighted some of the applications and services that cannot function without high bandwidth, low latency, QOS, etc. My knowledge of French poetry is now much improved thanks to the showcase, and the video application for teaching any subject across multiple communities and countries was more than enough to spark debates around the screen of the very many (limitless?) purposes to which such a service could be applied.
The healthcare apps seem to be old hat to many, especially the Dutch who seem to have telehealth nailed, and it continues to strike me as desperately sad that I couldn't find a single UK representative who actually had a personal interest in telehealth solutions, or whose job was in that sector. So, no doubt no-one will be reporting back to the NHS and we will continue to believe we have a Health Service that is the envy of the world. The truth is we are now a long way behind other countries, especially our nearest neighbours and also including those we would consider to be under developed or third world.
Wales seemed to be getting a great bit of press from the Dutch who are very pleased that the "Dutch model" has been adopted. (I presume that is Kees and Nuenen!). So, expect the Welsh valleys to become the new northern European tourist destination for anyone accustomed to FTTH at home.....;o)
Being the underdogs doesn't sit well with some nations, and it was fascinating to hear from some of the German vendors about both their product sets (extensive) and ambitions (more so). Ditto the Spanish companies like Key Fibre. Both nations have a certain level of respect that seemed to bring leads to their booths. The British companies also command a deal of respect; however, the British (government and incumbents) approach to FTTH does not lend itself to good PR for the UK. In fact, I got rather bored of the sympathy for Britain, as well as yet further ashamed.
It's pretty bloody simple really. We either start rolling out FTTH this year to every home, or we admit our failure and make concerted efforts to attract foreign investment in the FTTH landgrab. Even those projects and initiatives which are deemed to be exemplar within the UK are pretty goddamned pathetic compared to ...pick a country.....Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Holland, Russia, Ukraine, etc etc etc. Urban or rural, the UK is so far off the game as to be laughable.
And if you still think we are doing just fine with fibre, then I urge you to visit countries like Andorra, or the eastern Bloc, where FTTH infrastructure is now commonplace and what is happening now is the growth of GDP, innovative economic development, and a setting of the course required to compete in a global economy that we seem to have failed to comprehend nor engage in.
Great conference, as ever. Munich next year on Feb 29th/March 1st. It is 7 years since I started attending this conference, and I would hope next year there is, finally, a UK contingent who will report back to their various sectors - housing, planning, NHS, education, public sector, manufacturing, telecoms - about why and how we need to take our fingers out of both our butts and ears and JFDI before it really is too late.
(Oh, and if you think I am being harsh, you should have heard what other nationalities were saying about the UK, BT, the British government etc and FTTH.)