Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Aussies and Kiwis sampling Dutch broadband (1)

It looked like a piece of perfect timing of the Australian and New-Zealand trade mission to the Netherlands. Yesterday the first subscriber got access to Glass Fibre Net Amsterdam. (GNA) It is the beginning of a roll-out to 40.000 households, institutions and companies in an All-IP Open Network. And that was exactly what the Aussies and Kiwis came for to study: how did the Dutch get into the top league of broadband and how do they stay there.

The visit of the trade delegation of Australians and New Zealand people from March 11 – 14 is a sequel to the successful Netherlands Trade Mission to Australia, which took place in April 2006. Both events occur within the context of the celebrations of the first European landing on Australian shores, by the vessel Duyfken, in 1606. The organisation of the event was in the hands of two old friends and digital media veterans Paul Budde (see photograph) from the telecom consultancy in the Australian and Fred Kappetijn from the consultancy KIS in The Netherlands.

Why are they looking in The Netherlands and in Amsterdam in particular? This year Australia will invest A$5 billion in telecoms infrastructure, A$1 billion of which will come from government funds. Furthermore, cities such as Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast are launching their own plans, and they are also interested in expressions of interest from outside Australia.

The opportunities that exist for partnerships between Dutch and Australian companies will be explored during the Mission. Several local councils are participating in the Mission.

New Zealand has recently legislated the operational separation of its incumbent telecom company, Telecom New Zealand, and is looking at All-IP (open) network opportunities. Again, the Netherlands leads the world in this area, and Dutch expertise would be most valuable Down Under.

The Australia-New Zealand-Netherlands Roundtable took place in Amsterdam yesterday and was hosted by Cisco. It was a fully packed event with prominent speakers from the three countries. Besides the speakers there were specialists in the room such as the telecom guru Jaap van Till of Stratix; the managing director of The Netherlands Broadband Country, Mr Piet Spohr and Mr Van Esch, the managing director of the cable operator’s association VECAI. I will be reporting on some of the presentations in the coming days and I will refer to the presentations which will come online

There are always higher ideals behind such meetings like this. In this case Australia is keen to provide the gateway to Asia in the same way as the Netherlands promotes its gateway function into Europe.

Besides the Roundtable the trade delegation visited projects such as CityNet Amsterdam, the Internet exchange AMS-IX and today the trade delegation will visit the Almere Grid in my home town Almere.

Blog Posting Number: 692

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