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THD Seine = RIP ?

16 Sep


The French Fiber PPPs are called RIP, Réseau d’Initiative Publique (Public Initiative Network). An unfortunate acronym, perhaps, considering the largest one of these seems to be in big big trouble. THD Seine is the largest such network in Europe, with the ambition of covering 800k homes in one of the densest (and better served) regions of France, just outside of Paris.

THD Seine was a landmark project because it successfully overcame every regulatory and legal challenge both in France and in Brussels by focusing on the SIEG notion, which means General Interest Economic Services in English. Basically, the notion was that if the public subsidy in a project helps make said project universal when commercial propositions will never offer full coverage, then public subsidy for the part that wouldn’t get done otherwise is fine.

Unfortunately, the project seems to have hit some major execution hurdles. Targets have not been met and Sequalum, who won the deal (a subsidiary of Numéricable and SFR) seems well on its path to be rejected and imposed massive penalties for not delivering. The political authorities of the 92 have issued the following statement (in French) entitled Towards an Annulment of the Public Service Delegation.

Seems like that particular RIP might well be RIP…

Photo: (cc) Corentin Foucault

Kansas Legislature Introduces Bill to Limit Internet Investment

31 Jan

See on Scoop.itConnected World

Benoit Felten‘s insight:

Looks like the US incumbents are at it again, trying to stifle competition through restrictive legislation, in Kansas this time. Commentary has been that it might be to hamper another Google Fiber, but Google Fiber isn’t a PPP. More likely they’re worried Google Fiber will give other Kansas communities ideas…

See on

One Battle Won

8 Mar

As some of you may know, US incumbents and cable operators have been lobbying fiercely in the last few years to forbid local governments by law of investing in broadband infrastructure. This morning, one such bill which was to be voted by the Georgia legislature was repealed. I wanted to publish the comic strip that the opponents to the bill have been circulating, because I find it marvelous and sadly closer to reality than the caricatures suggest. The even sadder thing is that while this is a victory for those who believe that the destiny of communities cannot be left in the hands of a for-profit duopoly, this is the second time this law has been put up to the vote in Georgia, and it’s likely to rear its ugly head again next year, and to rear its head in many other states as well. 18 US States (if I’m not counting wrong) already have such bans in place.

Presentation on Stokab with talking track and moving arms

28 Feb

During the SKL event in Brussels last week my presentation was filmed, and it’s been edited in a great way (I think). You can see it here:

Benoit Felten, Diffraction Analysis

The other presentations from the same day can be viewed here.

How the Stokab Model can be Replicated (Slides)

18 Feb

As promised last week, here are the slides from my Brussels presentation How the Stokab Model can be Replicated.

These slides present the high level results from our study and white paper: Stockholm’s Stokab: A Blueprint for Ubuquitous Fiber Connectivity?

Short interview on Stokab

11 Feb

Before the municipal event organised by SKL in Brussels last Thursday I did a quick interview on Stokab which has been put up over the week-end.

You can see it here:

As mentioned previously, this relates to our recent study and white paper on Stokab.

Promises, promises

15 Jan

The State of Kansas

Well, looks like I overpromised on my blogging. I had all these great plans for last week, and then real life and (thankfully) real work hit me in the chest like a sledgehammer.

As some of you may be aware, there’s a big kerfuffle going on (I don’t normally use that word, but that’s how it’s been described by one great friend of mine who is probably reading this) with Free in France having blocked Google’s advertising servers from delivering content last week. It only lasted a few days, but it’s highlighted both the level of tension between ISPs and OSPs in France and the ease with which Net Neutrality can be breached.

I was going to blog about that at length but I won’t just yet since there’s a big meeting at the Ministry today with lots of speakers on this very subject, and since I’m working on a more structured piece than a regular blog post to address all the issues at hand.

Meanwhile, here’s a nice article in Wired to keep you busy entitled Why Is Google Fiber the Country’s Only Super-Speed Internet?

Illustration: CC ChrisM70

Interview on Stokab over at Community Broadband Bits

14 Nov

Gamla stan

Gamla Stan (cc) *Kicki*

Community Broadband Bits is a great podcast addressing broadband issues for communities. It’s largely US centric but very open to understanding how other players worldwide have evolved. I was interviewed for this month’s edition, talking about Stokab and how the Stockholm model could provide inspiration for communities elsewhere.

You can find the podcast here and details about the white paper we published on Stokab here.

Externalities by the Bucketload

9 Nov


Lightning (cc) ergates

Just a short post to point you to this longer post by David Isenberg on how the FTTH / Smart Grid combination helped Chatanooga recover energy wise from major storms last summer in 3.5 days instead of 5 thus saving an estimated 1.4 million dollars. It’s entitled Storm Recovery — Chattanooga Style versus Sandy and Athena and it’s proof once more that we cannot keep on considering the whole NGA financing issue solely on the impact on the incumbents’ bottom line. Any local authority looking into broadband development should read this.

White Paper: In-depth examination of Stokab

2 Oct

Stokab has become one of these landmark municipal broadband projects that many people quote and talk about but that until now had never really been studied in depth. A few months ago, Google approached us and asked if we would undertake such a study with their sponshorship and publish the results. The ideas was not to present the project as anything it isn’t and neither was it to push for its replication, the idea was to look dispassionately at how Stokab got where it is, the benefits that the City of Stockholm derives from Stokab and to examine how the project might realistically be replicated and by whom.

The paper, entitled Stockholm’s Stokab: A Blueprint for Ubiquitous Fiber Connectivity? is now available on SSRN. It’s an in-depth 15 page read and examines all the issues above and more. In particular, it highlights the financial aspects of the Stokab story: where did the money come from, how did the structure fare in the early years, etc. In case that wasn’t made clear, it’s available to all who want to download it. I would be very curious to have feedback from people interested in discussing its contents.