Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amsterdam smart city presentation

Here is a new presentation (Stockholm, November 2009) by Dirk van der Woude, one of the driving forces behind the Amsterdam smart city efforts, which includes FTTH and much more: wireless, smart grid, etc.

The only thing that I just can't get excited over is the smart grid concept. I think we need something much more fundamental than just increased efficiency, even though the first results (14% savings - see slide 25) are impressive.
  • I doubt this is enough. A much more radical approach may be needed, like solar and wind power. My German neighbour is having a new home built, using only thermal power (the refrigerator turned upside down). It takes drilling a 80-100 meter deep hole, but a temperature difference of just 2-3 degrees is sufficient. How difficult is that. And how durable! Contrast that with the cost of building a smart grid.
  • Savings of 14 percent may be unrealistic when the project moves beyond the initial group of trial homes, where people could be quite motivated to cooperate. There are a lot of jerks our there. Go drive on the highway to see how few people are interested in driving economically. Even though many cars these days have a smart meter, telling us that doing 90 km/hr will probably save us at least 30 percent of our as consumption, very few seem to be interested. That's human nature. Still, I hope the trial will prove me wrong. Smart software, added to the smart meter, may help us become better people.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tele Basel launches FTTH in Switzerland

For those who master Schwizerd├╝tsch, here is a report on an FTTH project in Basel. Tele Basel has activated 250 homes.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Will KPN pull out a wild card?

It's the time of year to make predictions. On December 15, KPN is set to clarify its FTTx Roadmap, but it doesn't look like there will be any fireworks. Here are a few possible outcomes that don't seem to be on anybody's cards:
  • MAYBE they will accelarete FTTH. That would be a u-turn to previous statements, and construction capacity (currently at an annual run rate of 250k homes per annum) doesn't have much room to grow.
  • MAYBE they will bet the farm on VDSL2. It is what they have announced, but it could be more than just an interim strategy (in theory).
  • MAYBE have an acquisition to report. BBned is for sale and would add a handsome business provider (the wholesale provider would lose all its customers no doubt, and the retail business may have to be sold on). Still, they could replace BBned on a couple of FTTH networks.
  • MAYBE they have a retail partnership to report. Perhaps Online Breedband is finally ready to live up to its promises (made in April). Or Tele2. But the real big fish would be Ziggo. Imagine Ziggo becoming an operator/RSP on the Reggefiber FTTH networks! (UPC would be a harder nut to crack - they suffer from a severe case of incumbofobia).
  • MAYBE they have a content deal up their sleeve. Connected TV is all the rage. This would enhance the triple play.
UPDATE But the biggest surprise would be:
  • MAYBE there will be a switch to GPON technology (in the larger cities), in order to be able to re-use VDSL investments.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

KPN to shed light on its FTTH/FTTC network mix

KPN's (in)famous 2x5 evalution of FTTC (+ VDSL2) and FTTH, in 5 towns each, is drawing to a close. Next Tuesday will see a statement form Baptiest Coopmans, board member for the consumer market. I have prepared a short report (KPN's FTTx Roadmap) containing all the different considerations that KPN must be weighing (see also in the right hand column).

No doubt an unexciting mix will be announced, but there are two important questions to ask: what is KPN's long-term view of VDSL; and how seriously is it committed to FTTH?