The Business Design Centre is hosting the 21st Century Communications World Forum, with a mixture of exhibits, keynote speeches, plenary panels. For those wanting to see what the world outside of the UK is doing as telecoms companies try to move forward in a rapidly changing environment pay a visit to the IEC.org website.
The Keynote address on Monday was by Paul Reynolds, Chief Executive of BT Wholesale, the speech is available in a Windows Media Player stream by visiting here. Mr Reynolds while not letting too much slip about the services that the BT 21CN project may eventually enable, was keen to emphasise the national nature of the work, i.e. that the aim is to reach all communities in the UK, rather than the 50-70% targetted by most of UK telecoms players. At this initial roll-out stage the 21CN vision is very much to remove a lot of the quirks in the various BT networks and produce a much simpler platform that will be both cheaper to run, and much easier to roll-out new services across.
For those that read around on the IEC website, they will find articles detailing what other countries are doing for their 21CN style roll-outs, for example this article shows how NTT in Japan are doing something very different, which is to attack the first mile side of the network, and this means something like 100,000 people each month are now taking a Fibre To The Home (FTTH) service from NTT. This growth in fibre networks in Japan is not just led by the providers, but with a government mandate calling for a fibre optic nation by 2010 the pressure to meet the deadline is on. Constrast this to the UK, where the political environment from all parties just seems to embrace the warm and woolly idea of a 'broadband nation', and of course no-one can really decide on what constitutes a true broadband service.
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