Sunday, January 08, 2006

Liberte, egalite, et fiber

In a series of client meetings at the end of last year, one section of my presentation which provoked one of the strongest reactions was a discussion of the Amsterdam FTTH project. Invariably, clients were initially baffled as to why a city government would view investing in broadband infrastructure as a worthwhile activity. When I explained my take on Amsterdam's agenda (developing more efficient social service/government service delivery, fostering economic development, increasing economic competitiveness), they got it immediately - every single one.

Many agreed with me that this redefinition of what, and more importantly, WHY broadband is, could mark an important new chapter in the European telecom market, and that this issue merits close attention. I usually followed this topic with a discussion of Danish and Norwegian utility fiber projects and municipal projects in the French regions. Well, things in France seem to have escalated somewhat. A Platinum Club meg-uber value reader alerts me to an article in the Nouvel Observateur a few days ago, in which it appears that the Mayor of Paris has fiber aspirations. The article refers to a city-wide network, and also seems to suggest that the Mayor has aspirations of offering free narrowband internet access and local telephony to residents of more modest economic means.

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