Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Catch-up post from Berlin

Life goes on outside the Berlin ICC venue, even if what is going on inside isn't necessarily as exciting as I have found it in the past. Here's a few interesting items, by way of catching up.

Back in the UK, my cyberfreund Keith has been on a tear, revealing some interesting ingredients in Carphone Warehouse's broadband "roll-out" (single 100Mbps circuits from the exchanges? - no wonder he's getting such dismal throughput). He also has a nice piece on Sky, which matches many of my own views, which I was unable to write up due to work commitments. In particular, I agree the broadband roll-out contrast with Carphone Warehouse is pretty stark, much smaller in scope, but better in quality, with 88% unbundled - this is the difference between poorly-resourced land-grab effort and incremental service targeted at an existing adjacent user base. (Point of clarification - the numbers reported by Sky do not include the legacy Easynet/UK Online subs.)

A Palladium Club mega-uber value reader alerts me to an important announcement coming out of the Broadband Cities conference in Stockholm tomorrow. INEC is to announce an international declaration on open networks, including the following statement:

"Communities deserve to have open, high bandwidth infrastructures which are operator-neutral and able to satisfy current demand as well as meet the requirements of the future in terms of both the quantity and quality of information exchange."

Signatories to the declaration include: the municipality of Seltjarnarnes, Iceland; City of Stockholm; City of Amsterdam;, the mayor of one city involved in the UTOPIA project; Multimedia Super Corridor of Malaysia; PortoDigital of Brazil, and the City of Almere, the Netherlands. The Declaration has also been formally endorsed by the Dutch foundation 'Stedenlink' (CityLink) – directly representing 13 Dutch cities, among them: Rotterdam, The Hague, Arnhem, Enschedé and Eindhoven.

I think this is both very exciting and very significant news for anyone tracking the mounting tension between the "broadband market" and broadband as a lever of public policy. Here we have both highly-penetrated broadband markets in affluent countries, as well as initiatives in "emerging" economies, joining hands to say that what they're getting today from the market will not deliver the connectivity essential for where they hope to go in future. I think this is the broadband equivalent of "the shot heard round the world."

Here in Berlin, talking about the move from command and control culture to openness (at least that's what I was talking about), we today have another example from Adobe, which has announced the open-sourcing of its Flash scripting engine into a Mozilla project called Tamarin. This is massive.

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