Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Deutschland online

Heading off to Vienna in a few minutes, I guess I should be brushing up on my German, but somehow I don't think it's going to improve enough to get through this report on the German broadband market commissioned by T-Online. A summary in English here points to ICT accounting for 12% of German GDP by 2015, roughly double current levels. Notice also the admission that Germany is five years behind Sweden on the e-learning curve. I expect that this report is infused with its own complex layers of domestic political meanings, but it's also more grist to the mill in the growing politicization of the broadband phenomenon.

I'm proud to say that two years ago this week I started writing seriously (for clients) about the looming conflict between the free market and public/social policy in the area of broadband, and while I'm happy to have been right, I'm equally disturbed at just how quickly this has developed into a super-critical issue in some parts. Some very smart people Stateside are understandably getting mad as hell, thinking about what to do next, and at the end of this month they will have a lot more ammunition with the appearance of a new book by Bruce Kushnick, entitled "The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal." This may be one instance in which the Long Tail actually works in telcos' favor, as it may prove difficult to get the point across to a wider audience in the current media landscape. Then again, for a shrewd opposition politician eager to upset the apple cart, this could make the mother of all media opps.

UPDATE: Like I said, telecom is serious business...

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