Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Back to the future

Well, I survived and am now the proud father of a second four-inch scar! Blogging will therefore be limited to only really critical posts, and Rotterdam's announcement today of a FTTH network certainly qualifies. To be honest, having met with some of the Dutch fiber advocates in September last year, this announcement does not surprise me at all. It is going to be intriguing to watch another project evolve independently. From the press release, it looks as though Rotterdam is looking to involve the social housing corporations subsequent to the announcement, unlike Amsterdam, where they were announced as shareholders at the beginning. Nevertheless, the overall orientation and goals seem to be the same:

"...future proof data infrastructure is for Rotterdam just as important as a good connection by means of water, road and railtrack. A fiber network has proven to be an important settlement criterion for young professionals, knowledge-intensive companies, port-related companies and companies in the medical-technological sector. A high-quality communications network is essential as well for cultural institutions."

I'm also curious to see how the service provider response picks up. From what I understand, the Amsterdam project is already at 75 service providers (I believe all from within the Netherlands, leading me to suspect that there are an awful lot of non-traditional players involved - financial services, consumer/retail, media companies?). With one common wholesale network provider, the OSS/BSS and provisioning processes are uniform, so anyone with the confidence of their brand behind them can presumably play. I think I've said so before, but this is going to prove a fascinating testbed for how telco brands compete when stripped of the benefits of legacy advantages in the access market.

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