Fiberevolution http://www.fiberevolution.com To Universal Connectivity and Beyond Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:47:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.5 The Incumbents’ Net Discrimination Plan Exposed http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-incumbents-net-discrimination-plan/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-incumbents-net-discrimination-plan/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:43:16 +0000 https://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/?p=4827 I was just pointed to this fantastic German video that ‘unveils’ Deutsche Telekom’s plans with internet discrimination. It’s both funny (because it turns every creepy aspect of it into a ‘feature’, like “you will no longer be bothered by these thousands of services you could never figure out“) and scary, because from all I can gather in discussions with Incumbents across Europe and the US, this is exactly what they hope to achieve. Seriously worth watching.

Oh, and since I always insist on the lobbyists working for Big Telecom being exposed, the guys behind this are Internet activists, and you can find them on www.http://netzneutralitaet.cc/.

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-incumbents-net-discrimination-plan/feed/ 0
AT&T to FCC: We Aren’t Limiting FTTH to 2M Deal Pledge http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/att-to-fcc-we-arent-limiting-ftth-to-2m-deal-pledge/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/att-to-fcc-we-arent-limiting-ftth-to-2m-deal-pledge/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 02:18:07 +0000 http://www.fiberevolution.com/?p=4824

Source: www.multichannel.com

The FCC has tried to call AT&T’s bluff on their blackmail attempt (the "we won’t deploy fiber if Net Neutrality is in place"). So far AT&T’s response has been feeble. At the end of the day, until Wall Street is informed of an FTTH investment plan, none of this is actually happening. 

See on Scoop.itConnected World

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/att-to-fcc-we-arent-limiting-ftth-to-2m-deal-pledge/feed/ 0
Falling in Love with Stockholm All Over Again http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/falling-in-love-with-stockholm-all-over-again/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/falling-in-love-with-stockholm-all-over-again/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:01:10 +0000 https://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/?p=4819 2014-02-16-DSCF0416

Last week I spent two and a half days in Stockholm, doing interviews and meeting various public officials and private businesses with the aim of updating the White Paper we published in 2013 entitled Stockholm’s Stokab: A Blueprint for Ubiquitous Connectivity. When we published this back then, Smart City issues were just beginning to emerge, and while we did cover a number of broadband enabled initiatives by the City in the report, it simply wasn’t a major focus. One of my goals with these meetings was to assess how that situation had changed in the last few years.

I still need to digest a lot of the information I gathered, and I need to do some follow-up interviews as well, but one thing came across loud and clear in each and every one of these interviews: the Stockholmers get it. The City has recently rewritten its strategic vision document to include ICT in every aspect of its missions, and no matter who you meet in the City government, they understand this at the core of whatever it is they are responsable for.

Actual implementations are still limited when it comes to Smart City applications, but there are a number of pilot programs in place, some of them financed in part by the European Union to design and build (or retrofit) entire districts of the City with “smart” in mind. I was going there believing that despite its infrastructure assets, Stockholm was going to be managed just like every other city out there: with no central governance on ICT related projects.

The more I look into this stuff and the more I’m convinced that the Smart City killer is fragmentation of vision, resources and implementation. Stockholm doesn’t have everything right, they don’t even have everything in place, but they get it, and that vision is shared across the whole city administration and even amongst the population, entrepreneurs and social workers. They are paving the way to do it right. That in itself is impressive. And it’s working already: there are 150k newcomers to Stockholm every year that the city has to accomodate. You don’t get to deal with that kind of expansion without either creating a big urban mess (that’s what I see here in China) or being very very smart.

I have some work to do still to clearly articulate how they’re doing it right, and that will be published in the white paper revision in a couple of months.

But I just wanted to say that I’m falling in love with Stockholm all over again…

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/falling-in-love-with-stockholm-all-over-again/feed/ 0
The false dichotomy of competition vs. investment http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-false-dichotomy-of-competition-vs-investment/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-false-dichotomy-of-competition-vs-investment/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:03:24 +0000 https://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/?p=4812 2560916192_a5a35d2653_z

I spent last week in Europe, in between Stockholm, Brussels and Paris and most of the topics I discussed, heard or addressed in public were in one way or another about policy. One thing that struck me is how the false dichotomy of competition vs. investment in the market is alive and well. We know where it comes from: mostly incumbent lobbying, with competitive operators sitting on the fence, not quite sure if they buy it, but not quite sure either whether they should disprove it.

What I found the most astonishing though is that every policy expert I spoke to (except ones clearly aligned with incumbents) or heard talk at the ECTA annual conference was adamantly clear that the dichotomy is false. Here are a few of the quotes I tweeted from the ECTA event :

 

 

The quote from Ofcom might be considered surprising when one looks at how the UK Regulator has worked with BT to institute an unseparated infrastructure monopoly there (and competitive operators are finally starting to get their act together in denouncing this) but it’s hard to contest that it’s true.

So here’s the conundrum: all of those who have looked into this market with even a modicum of independence know that the dichotomy is false. This includes regulators and most EU policy makers at the operational levels. Why then does it still pervade actual policy making and press coverage? How come the French government wants to reduce the number of mobile players in the market? How come the Dutch regulator refuses to open up cable networks despite evidence that it’s feasible and done elsewhere (I’ll come back to that one)? How come the first blog post of the incoming commissioner frames exactly that false dichotomy as a solution (see my response to that here) ?

The first and most likely answer is “lobbying”. Incumbent lobbying is massive, loud and targets just the right people. In particular, it targets the press, and the press is always after a “balanced view”, this false intellectual construction that dictates that no matter what the argument on one side is, the argument on the other side is at least equally valid. So it seems that in the higher echelons of regulatory and policy decision making, the ultimate decision makers listen to the press and the lobbyists, but not to their own people. That is sad, and I really feel for the people working in these organizations.

I mean, here we have virtually every independent expert in Europe saying that the single digital market will not be of any use if infrastructure investment is what we are after, and yet every sign and message of the new incoming commission, from Oettinger all the way up to Juncker himself is that we need to allow more consolidation in Europe and less players in each market.

What are we doing wrong? How can we collectively broadcast the message loud and clear that the dichotomy is false? That investment in the telecom sector will not be achieved through consolidation? Is our telecom policy destined to fatten dividends?

I don’t have the answers. At our own little level, we at Diffraction Analysis are pushing what we believe to be the right messages, backed by unbiased research. But we’re really small, and our ability to be heard is extremely limited. Someone last week commended us on our Structural Separation work, and added: “what’s the plan now? How do you put this on the agenda, and how does it play out if you manage to do it?”

The short answer is “I don’t know”. But I would clearly like to start a discussion about this, and I’d welcome any ideas and opinions from those who, like me, believe that some of our issues can be solved by policy, only a policy that is independent from the pervading incumbent’s worldview. Please let me know what you think about how things could be pushed forward in the right direction.

 

Photo: (cc) Mary Beth Griffo Rigby

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-false-dichotomy-of-competition-vs-investment/feed/ 1
Structural Separation Webinar Commentary http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/structural-separation-webinar-commentary/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/structural-separation-webinar-commentary/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:59:06 +0000 http://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/2014/11/structural-separation-webinar-commentary/ Our webinar on Nov. 18th hosted by the FTTH Council Europe was extremely successful, both in terms of attendance and in the level of engagement and quality of questions. The video has been uploaded, and is available here. The report is still available for purchase and goes in a lot more detail on these issues. It also analyses existing successes and failures in Structural Separation which was not touched upon during the webinar.

In the wake of the webinar, we have decided to offer in addition to the report the full Q&A document to anyone purchasing the report. We are also happy to throw in a one-hour person to person presentation / conversation for those who will purchase the report.

Please get in touch if the payment instructions on our webpage are not clear.

 

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/structural-separation-webinar-commentary/feed/ 0
Mister Oettinger and the Natural Monopoly http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/mister-oettinger-and-the-natural-monopoly/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/mister-oettinger-and-the-natural-monopoly/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:44:35 +0000 https://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/?p=4807 Dear Mr Oettinger,

I hope you don’t mind my writing to you in such a direct way, but we like to be informal in the technology world. I’m addressing you to commend you for the conceptual leap you nearly made in your first blog post as Digital Czar (or whatever the official title is.) It’s entitled Connected Europe? Broadband for All is the Answer, and while I’ve heard snappier titles, it’s actually the contents that are worth discussing.

In this blog post you argue that the digital divide is intolerable, and that we need to be thinking outside the box to connect rural areas with high-speed internet. I couldn’t agree with you more, and it’s nice to see you come out of the gate with such a strong will to break the mold. You may not be aware how much the mold has been cast by telecom lobbyists, but I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough.

You then argue that because the cost of deploying infrastructure in rural areas is so high and the expectation of revenue so low, we should consider granting monopolies to operators who agree to go there. In economic terms, they call this kind of situation a natural monopoly, and it’s good to hear you state clearly that yes, infrastructure is a natural monopoly. As you dig in deeper on these issues, you will actually discover that this doesn’t just apply to rural areas, but to 99% of most European countries.

But I digress.

The only issue with your proposal is that you don’t actually have to sacrifice the rights of citizens to choose their providers to achieve what you want. The reason is very simple: the natural monopoly is actually the infrastructure, not the service. And we in Europe (unlike our American friends) have been running multiple services on shared copper infrastructure for years. It’s very simple to do.

So since we’re thinking really outside the box, why not consider infrastructure and services as separate issues? There are several ways this can be (and has been) done:

  • we could establish an infrastructure company for rural areas that would have all kinds of public and private shareholders (including operators, local governments, investment banks, long-term financial funds, etc.) This company would wholesale access to their network to all market players, thus allowing rural areas to have connectivity and choice.
  • if we’re a little bolder, we could look at what New Zealand did and actually separate the incumbent’s infrastructure and service arms. Make them into two companies with no financial ties between them. One company would be focused on long-term investment and operations, the other would be focused on short-term service retailing.

This last concept is called structural separation. It was never discussed by the previous commission because, well, it’s a “taboo”. One of those taboos that millions of Euros of lobbying money has kept silent at the bottom of a deep, dark, hole.

Yet I and a number of colleagues believe that it could actually help solve the issue of underinvestment in broadband infrastructure at very little (if any) cost to the European taxpayer. And it wouldn’t just solve it for rural areas, it would solve it for Europe.

Tomorrow, my colleague Thomas Langer and I are running a webinar to present our findings in this area. We have modeled a structurally separated market in one country in Europe you know well and found that the resulting capacity for investment was vastly higher than current investment while at the same time representing significant financial upswing for the shareholders of the incumbent. It’s free to attend and we hope you or members of your staff will join this webinar. It should not be “taboo” to ask such questions and start a public discussion on them.

Yours,

Benoît Felten

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/mister-oettinger-and-the-natural-monopoly/feed/ 0
Meet Me in Brussels http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/meet-us-in-brussels/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/meet-us-in-brussels/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 04:35:57 +0000 http://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/2014/11/meet-us-in-brussels/ 2013-02-06-IMG_4358_HDR

I will be in Brussels on November 19th-20th, speaking at a number of events:

On November 19th, I’ll be one of the speakers at the Swedish Municipalities event entitled Maximizing Fiber Infrastructure Investment in Europe. He will discuss the importance of broadband for the future of cities, the challenges of the current market situation to enable smart cities and a number of potential solutions to these issues. The event is free to attend provided you register ahead of time.

On November 20th, I’ll speak at the ECTA Regulatory Conference. Benoit will present evidence disproving the premise that there is an economic reason to be reconsidering Net Neutrality.

If you wish to meet with me at either of these events (or around that time elsewhere in Brussels), please get in touch or just walk up to me after my presentations.

 

Photo: (c) Ben Felten

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/meet-us-in-brussels/feed/ 0
The Empire Strikes Back: AT&T threatens to pull Paltry US Fibre Investment http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-empire-strikes-back-att-threatens-to-pull-paltry-us-fibre-investment/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-empire-strikes-back-att-threatens-to-pull-paltry-us-fibre-investment/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 03:39:24 +0000 http://www.fiberevolution.com/?p=4799

In a sure sign that net neutrality won’t be instituted in the US without one hell of a struggle, AT&T CEO, Randall Stephenson, has announced an “investment pau…

Source: www.telecomtv.com

Not much to add to this, except to say that the very fact that they are willing to stop an infrastructure investment plan because there’s a lack of clarity on net neutrality (if you take their argument at face value) shows that there is no investment plan. Anyone who invests in infrastructure seriously knows that whatever happens on top of that infrastructure matters not at all about the profitability of the investment. 

 

But we knew from the start that these announcements were a smokescreen, Fiber to the Press Release taken to the next level. 

See on Scoop.itConnected World

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/the-empire-strikes-back-att-threatens-to-pull-paltry-us-fibre-investment/feed/ 0
Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/why-comrade-cameron-went-all-russell-brand-on-the-uks-mobile-networks/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/why-comrade-cameron-went-all-russell-brand-on-the-uks-mobile-networks/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 06:55:07 +0000 http://www.fiberevolution.com/?p=4796

National Roaming Rǝʌolution, innit!

Source: www.theregister.co.uk

The Telegraph is not exactly a subtle publication, and this article is no exception. For once though, I’m not sure I agree with their read of the situation. Establishing a single shared infrastructure in deep rural not-spots is not a communist solution as the title suggests, it’s actually a sensible approach to providing quality services to expensive coverage areas. How it’s done, and how competent the powers that be in Britain are in implementing something like this is another story (and I’m not too confident about that), but dismissing the principle on political grounds is, frankly, stupid. 

See on Scoop.itConnected World

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/why-comrade-cameron-went-all-russell-brand-on-the-uks-mobile-networks/feed/ 0
Let’s Discuss Structural Separation http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/lets-discuss-structural-separation/ http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/lets-discuss-structural-separation/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 06:25:16 +0000 http://devfe.diffractionanalysis.com/2014/11/lets-discuss-structural-separation/ 2014-11-12-6107497221_ee3798478c_z

At Diffraction Analysis, we (ie. Thomas Langer and Benoît Felten) have been busy these last few months working on a series of reports on structural separation. Our starting point is not that it should happen because of market fairness issues, but simply that it should happen because it makes financial sense. Furthermore by clarifying the investment horizon of both the network and the service entities, it could revive much needed long-term investment in fixed networks, the kind that vertically integrated entities currently deem “unworkable”.

We released a first report a couple of months ago entitled Can Structural Separation via Spinoffs help Europe Achieve its Broadband Ambitions. We will be presenting the results of this initial report during a live webinar hosted by the FTTH Council Europe on Tuesday November 19th. The webinar is entitled Structural Separation: A Solution to Boost FTTH Investment? It is free to join, and you can do so by registering here.

We are hard at work on a follow-up report that actually breaks down the numbers for the main European countries and looks at both the benefits of separation to shareholders and the investment potential unlocked on the network side.

 

Photo: Separation ou Retrouvailles (cc) Geoff Llerena

]]>
http://www.fiberevolution.com/2014/11/lets-discuss-structural-separation/feed/ 0