3D géographique et interactif
Chine : compléments

Municipalities prefer to roll out Fiber themselves

Comme je l'ai dit dans un précédent post (coopératives de télécommunications), il y a eu à Amsterdam la semaine derniere le congrés de SCIN (Smart Communities - et non pas Collectivities comme indiqué par erreur dans ce post - International Network).
Un journal hollandais qualifié de sérieux (et lu par les milieux d'affaires locaux) en a fait un compte rendu en hollandais. Vous trouverez ci-aprés la traduction en anglais faite par SCIN... (mille excuses mais il semble que le couper coller entre word et typepad ne soit pas encore complétement au point... changement de typographies notamment entre les deux...)

Het Financieele Dagblad


Friday, November 19, 2004

“Gemeente legt glasvezel liever zelf aan”

Municipalities prefer to roll out Fiber by themselves

Municipality plans to roll out fiber networks meet much resistance. Not rightfully so, they say. “Fast Internet is a Public Infrastructure.”

Bert van Dijk

Amsterdam – An important element in realizing the European ambition to become the most dynamic knowledge economy, is the rapid roll out of fast internet connections. It is to result in higher productivity, improvements in education and health care, whereas new services are to be translated in job growth.

However, as such networks are not being initiated by the private sector, many European cities find themselves forced to do it themselves, at the great displeasure of the market incumbents. How far do the municipalities ought to go?

This was one of the questions addressed at a conference in Amsterdam yesterday where a number of international fiber projects presented themselves. The event was organized by the Smart Community International Network, a exchange and cooperation network of Kenniswijk, the City of Stockholm, the American fiber project Utopia and the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia.

‘The role of government is wholly legitimate,’ thinks Roger Black, Director of Utopia, one of the largest fiber projects in the United States. Utopia aims at connecting 140.000 households and companies in 14 cities in the American State of Utah to a fiber network. ‘Not a single larger infrastructure has ever been built without substantial involvement, whether it concerns roads, water distribution or electricity. The same should hold true for the roll out of a fiber network, because, just like roads, it concerns a public infrastructure,’ says Black.

According to him, there is no concern for ‘unfair competition’ as the to be created networks will be totally open. The incumbent private sector parties will be able to provide their services over the network as well. ‘Further, we are mainly concerned with recovering our own initial investment. We do not need to make a profit and can therefore operate with a longer return on investment scheme. The long term advantages for our communities outweigh the short term return on investment margins.’

Jean-Michel Billaut, advisor to a large fiber project in the French city of Pau, takes the argument even further. He calls for a ‘European New Deal.’ If Europe is serious about becoming the most dynamic knowledge economy by the year 2010, why not raise the ambition as for every European to have a connection to a high speed fiber network for 30 euros per month in that year, or so he asked. ‘If the public sector does not create such networks, there will be no further development. The private sector is incapable of doing so.’

In the Netherlands, too, this discussion has taken center-stage. In the Netherlands we would like to leave the private sector, but the government would like to go faster than the private sector parties intend to. This is the dilemma which we now face,’ says Guus Broesterhuizen, Deputy Director of telecommunications department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The most ambitious project in the Netherlands is in Amsterdam where they intend to connect 450.000 households and companies by the year 2010. ‘The most important remaining obstacle today is getting the social housing corporations involved,’ says Dirk van der Woude, Project Manager of the fiber initiative Citynet in Amsterdam. On a smaller scale, several fiber networks are already operational in the Netherlands, such as in the town of Nuenen. However, fiber deployments are being slowed down by concerns over the legitimacy of such municipality initiated projects. ‘We ought to be careful not ending up to be waiting and maintaining a safe attitude too long within the European context,’ says Broesterhuizen. According to him, the concerns over the legitimacy are not justified. Soon the Ministry of Economic Affairs will present new policy outlines. These are to wholly assist housing corporations and municipalities by means of advice and arguments when making a case for fiber networks. ‘We do not want to stand in the way of local authorities.’

Whether such support combined with investment guarantees will be sufficient to roll out fiber in the Netherlands remains to be seen. ‘Financial parties tend to be less than enthusiastic due to their short term horizon,’ says Kees Rovers, representing Ons Net, the fiber initiative in Nuenen. Nuenen is a successful project, because a private investor was engaged, Kenniswijk subsidies could be utilized, whereas the citizens manage the network themselves, says Rovers. In other parts of the country the same conditions do not apply. Rovers calls for a consistent approach in which the central involvement of the citizens is key. ‘It has got to come from the neighbourhood. If people see that it works, you can roll out further.’

Note on the translation: The quotes are a translation from the original statements and in two cases concern a reverse translation from Dutch to English. The journalist and the newspaper cannot be held accountable for this translation of the original article. The SCIN Secretariat is solely responsible for this translation.

Note on the newspaper het Financieele Dagblad: Het Financieele Dagblad is a high quality daily newspaper which is widely read by corporate and public decision-makers in the Netherlands.

SCIN Secretariat

November 23, 2004

Commentaires

Stephane

Quand on sait que l'accès au réseau sera le dernier bastion de rentabilité des opérateurs fixes...on comprend leur réticence.

Avec la VoIP/SIP pour la voix, SSL pour les données, il leur restera plus grand chose à se mettre sous la dent.

Reste la 3G...


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