What we all know

7 May

What we all know . . . . . is mostly based on old assumptions that may well have been rendered obsolete.   Evidence-led policy/decision-making may limit forward thinking but at least it doesn’t negate the need for ‘reviewing the situation’.

This need for current evidence is hugely important to local authorities as they seek (or are given) more responsibility to support their local economic growth.   Empowerment, devolution and decentralisation are all in the melting pot for any new government – and the currency of the evidence base is particularly important in policy areas where the fundamentals are rapidly shifting.

Fiber optics

Fiber optics

Take, for example, what we know about investment in future-proofed Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband infrastructure. What we all know is that it’s horribly expensive, of dubious viability and there’s uncertainty around whether folks really need it.  BUT, what we all know is largely based on analysis that was produced more than a decade ago – analysis that some would say was a wee bit suspect even back then.

How important then is it that Local Authorities seeking to spend public sector funds on digital infrastructure are fully aware of cost reductions, improved deployment managements, dramatic shifts in uptake of better services and the scope for increased revenues for network operators and dividends for investors?

It should not be a surprise that the old ‘rules of thumb’ have shifted a bit – and it should be no surprise that hindsight reveals the unintended consequences of now-outdated motivations.

By bringing together best-practice experience from our own and other countries new models for investment can now be considered – and, moreover, considered in the context of what we can now deduce will be future requirements.

Based on his multi-country experience, Richard Jones, Chief Commercial Officer of VentureNext, has offered has offered to share an interactive business model that illustrates some of the challenges with investment in FTTH. Knowledge sharing in this arena is beneficial for all parties – investors, suppliers and citizens – and provides a way to refresh ‘what we all know’ in this vital area for future economic growth and societal development.

Further details

2015 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards – Nominations close 29th May

14 Apr

 

Idea

The Open Call for entries in the 5th annual NextGen Digital Challenge Awards programme has already attracted some great ideas from across the UK.

In addition to the original categories for innovations in City, Urban and Rural Broadband Networks, Open Data and Digital Inclusion, the 2015 programme includes opportunities for projects in the ‘Sharing Economy’, Digital Health and ‘Municipal Enterprise’.

A full list of the Awards Categories is available together with details of previous winners and short-listed Finalists.

The Open Call closes at the end of May and the 2015 short-listed Finalists will be announced in June. Nomination is FREE.

The independent judging panel will review the Finalists in September.

Winners will be announced on November 5th at the Awards Dinner hosted by Lord Merlin Erroll in the House of Lords, Westminster. The celebration follows the NextGen15 Workshops & Trade Fair.

Sponsorship opportunities for some Awards Categories are still available – contact: Marit Hendriks via awards@nextgenevents.co.uk or call 07734 919479

NextGen Academy brings Ventura’s FTTH Investment Workshop to the UK

3 Apr

For UK readers who were unable to trek to Warsaw in February, NextGen Academy has arranged a special treat next month in London.

Richard Jones websized

Like so many delegates, our journey to the 2015 FTTH Council Europe’s annual conference was enlivened by VenturaNext’s mini-MBA led by CCO Richard Jones.  In the space of just a few hours delegates already familiar with well worn arguments about investment in fibre access networks woke up to a realisation that those old familiar rules had shifted.

With input costs down, demand up, network planning & deployment management honed and growth outcomes valued more highly, it is time to rethink the decisions that have led many investors to limit risk through severe design compromise.

That is why a re-run of this great workshop is so timely for a UK audience – but delegate places are limited and priority must go to  Municipalities concerned for their local economic growth and City Analysts who are called to back new market entrants.

The event on May 19th in central London is not free of charge – but fees have been kept as low as possible with a 40% discounted rate for public sector attendees.

REGISTER HERE

Grexodus: the greater Greek Tragedy

3 Mar

Greek FlagThis Greek Tragedy is not one that most economists currently comprehend – leastways not those focused today on debts and delayed payments.  The greater Greek Tragedy is found in its ever-increasing exports – of people.

Economists may fret about Greece’s bond repayments and commitment to the rigours of austerity medication but the future of the Greek economy cannot be measured solely by speculative probabilities of staying within the Euro currency.  A modern Greek Tragedy is unfolding as thousands of bright young people pack their bags and seek new pastures.

Full Story

Brick Walls Crumble as Digital Realisations Dawn

23 Feb

Brick WallMost Groupe Intellex writing appears first on our old home site which is long overdue for redesign.  The shorter postings here are often brief summaries that link back to the full story – but flagging them here has two advantages – firstly the auto-tweet mechanism works more reliably and secondly this site enables comments and feedback from readers.

Today’s post is about two recent writings that really need to be read together.

As ever at this time of year, the FTTH Council Europe Annual Conference (this year in Warsaw) brings an intense focus on the reality of fibre technologies, new understandings of user experiences, the surprising impacts on network revenues and cost-reductions  in network deployments – particularly in construction costs.  More than that, the longer-term implications beyond 2022 get the attention of analysts and provide a useful context for current policy debate – especially in the UK and Germany where long-standing addictions to short-term goals (under cover of investment caution) seem increasingly out of kilter with demand and long-term economic health.

Then, coming back to the UK, one cannot help but notice that, remarkably, there is a sea change in the awareness of private and public policy influencers evident in multiple reports – the painstaking work of committees, commissions and consultations that has moved beyond acceptance of legacy constraints.  Even in the House of Lords they have noticed that ‘We are facing a tsunami of technological change, driven by the digital revolution, affecting virtually all areas of our lives.’  Pushing against the wall, the muscle of  ‘something must‘ now has the strength and determination to become ‘something can and will‘.

Cynics may say that this is but advanced wishful thinking – too early to call.  But the wall is beyond patching.  The weather has set in.  The mortar mix (equal parts,  fear, ego and greed) is crumbling.  Time to take it apart and build something sustainable.

 

 

Three (UK) substitutes for five minutes thought

12 Feb

220px-levin-bbcWhen the late, great, Bernard Levin was writing in the 1970’s for The Times, he dismissed repeated calls for the return of capital punishment as just ‘one of the popular substitutes for five minutes thought’.  That phrase suggests he had in mind plenty of other substitutes worthy of his ire.

Now, more than two decades on from his passing, the death penalty that he might have raged against is the likely death of an economy where governance has lost its bearings.

There’s no knowing, of course, what ‘popular substitutes’ he would nowadays have selected for his brilliant brand of incisive criticism, but current fascinations with all things digital suggest at least three – these being prompted by the growing evidence of the economic impacts of infrastructure investment and the impending tsunami of data being unleashed by video technologies.

Read the full story

Written from #FTTH2015 Warsaw and informed by presentations from VentureTeam and Diffraction Analysis.

Presentation Press Conference FTTH Conference 11 February 2015

Graphic credit: BBC

By The Way: the unexpected bonuses of business travel

9 Feb

So you’re off again – hoping to sell, buy, learn or teach – flights and hotel booked, appointments scheduled, presentations prepped, agendas agreed.

So far, so rational. But does it ever turn out like that?

If it did you might just as well have done the business by email and Skype.  No, the real value of business trips lies in the unexpected, the chance encounters, the rare perspectives that only come along the way.  You can never know exactly how things will turn out for you or for the folks you’ll chance to meet.

Marit HendriksFor fine examples of unexpected bonuses read my colleague Marit’s accounts from our 2014 trip to New York or her visit to India.

As we head off today to Warsaw for the FTTH conference we may think that the script is predictable, but the memories that survive will surely be unscripted.

 

 

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