Friday, March 23, 2007

Aussies and Kiwis sampling Dutch broadband (10)

The Australian organiser of the trade mission, paul Budde (see photograph; Budde, right, plus the Dutch organiser Fred Kappeteijn, left) looks back at the visit and wrote this comment:

At the conclusion of the Broadband Study and Trade Mission to the Netherlands the participating countries, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, resolved to further explore the various applications related to the new media.

Each of these countries already has in place advanced programs that can benefit organisations on both sides. The governments involved have also indicated that their policy focus has shifted from broadband access to broadband applications.

These are some of the outcomes of the four-day Mission, which took place in mid-March 2007, in Amsterdam and its neighboring Almere. Built on reclaimed land, this latter city of 170,000 residents didn’t exist 30 years ago. It is the fastest-growing city in the Netherlands, and, along with Amsterdam, leads the national developments in broadband. Both cities have experience with fibre-to-the-home (FttH) networks and are now in the process of commercial deployment.

While FttH was an important element of the Mission, from the beginning the focus was on digital media.

The official welcome, hosted by the Australian Embassy, took place in ‘De Waag’ a former city gate complex dating back to 1461.

The reception took place in the very room where Rembrandt learned about anatomy. Today, the ‘De Waag Society’ focuses on the new media developments in that 550-year-old building, which is now linked to a 10Gb/s network.

On Monday the Mission was hosted by the City of Amsterdam. Here the delegates discussed the FttH rollout to 400,000 households and businesses. They visited and discussed digital media activities with leading content providers in the Netherlands:

Fabchannel - live online concerts from the avant-garde Paradiso theatre.
AMS-IX - the world largest Internet exchange, servicing 226 carriers and content providers and a daily throughput now reaching peaks of 250Gb/s.
The Culture Factory and the Beamlab - this is a facility where the best software developers can work with other disciplines to develop the latest applications. The 10Gb/s connection to the venue allows for national and international collaboration. Designers can book time and space to work in the Culture Factory.
Media Guild - an ideas incubator that brings together artists, media people, software developers, hardware manufacturers and small and larger businesses.
CineGrid - based on the next generation of High Definition, around the technology known as ‘4’.
Salto - the local broadcaster in Amsterdam, which allows open access for organisations to produce their own radio and/or TV shows - catering for over 150 local community groups
Locative - a company for mobile content developers.
On Tuesday morning the Australian Minister for Communications opened, via video, the Australia-Netherlands Broadband Roundtable in Amsterdam. Dr Beverley Hart, Chief General Manager Strategic Development and Regional DCITA, thanked the Dutch Government for the invitation and introduced the Minister to the conference delegates.

The Minister discussed the many similarities between the two countries such as population size, lifestyle, education, their views on global affairs and also their no-frills straightforward way of doing business. She referred to the historical links, dating back 400 years to when the Duijfken (Little Dove) landed on the coast of Australia, near Weipa.

That event was commemorated in 2006 when a Dutch delegation visited Australia. During their visit the first Broadband Roundtable between the two countries took place in Sydney.

The Minister also highlighted the difference in size between the two countries, and in that context she spoke of the commitment of her government to invest in broadband infrastructure, especially in regional and rural Australia.

For the full content of the Minister's address - Senator Coonan recorded address to the Dutch-Australia Broadband Roundtable.

The delegation was welcomed on behalf of the Dutch Government by Mr Jos Huijgen, Deputy Director ICT and Applications of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. He drew attention to the change in focus of government policies - from access to digital media applications - ensuring that the new services that are being offered via broadband will be available to all citizens. These include healthcare, education and social and cultural services.

Other items that were discussed on that day were:

Driving sustainable business through services and partnerships
Broadband projects in Australia
Fibre in Amsterdam
Telecom regulation in the Netherlands (All-IP networks)
Broadband in Dutch schools
Broadband in New Zealand
Business opportunities in Australia and Asia
Broadband networks and science.
Dutch participants at the conference picked up on the Minister’s introduction in relation to the rollout of broadband infrastructure, and showed interest in participating in the various projects that are being launched in Australia. The possibility that these new projects could benefit from the expertise the Dutch have built up over the last five years was explored, and the opportunities in relation to municipality networks, especially, was a hotly debated issue.

Of course, the conference ran out of time, concluding with a lively, interactive Roundtable at the end of the day.

The plan now is to bring together the cutting-edge new media leaders of Australia and the Netherlands, in a telepresence conference. Cisco has already offered its telepresence centres in Sydney and Amsterdam for that purpose.

The conference was hosted and sponsored by the Dutch Government. Cisco in the Netherlands provided the venue and Cisco Australia sponsored the lunch. The Mission was organised by Kappetijn ICT Strategies and BuddeComm.

Paul Budde

A full report on the Mission is currently being produced.

Blog Posting Number: 701


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