Thursday, March 05, 2009

BPN 1308 Glass fibre to combat the crisis

At the conference Light My Fibre yesterday, the Portuguese Diogo Vasconcelos was one of the speakers. He is a distinguished fellow in the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group and works with governments and the European Commission. He had an optimistic message in these days of crisis.

Vasconcelos started out with criticism on many governments and governmental institutions as they are attempting to put right the mistakes of the past rather than prepare for the future. Old industries like the automotive industry are bailed out, rather than to stimulate the SMEs, who are the innovators in business and communities.

Officials are still following the old Keynesian economic mantra of being busy filling up the holes that have been dug in the past instead of digging holes for new infrastructures. They should look more at the Austrian economist Schumpeter, the prophet of innovation, who wants creative destruction. He recommends putting new infrastructures in place and integrating long-term concerns (ageing, climate, diversity and poverty), while promoting structural change which have short-term impact.

Vasconcelos sees excellent opportunities for glass fibre here. The investments for glass fibre do not have to be negotiated as they are shovel-ready. Obama has reserved funds for broadband infrastructure and the European Commission has almost 1 billion euro ready for broadband in the rural areas. It will create many jobs and broadband will increase with the economic and social effects that go with it.

Vasconcelos put down a 10 point manifesto:
1. Fix the future and do not bail out the past;
2. Reshape the recovery plan for the long term;
3. prioritise the sectors for job growth;
4. promote pluralism and local creativity;
5. invest in innovation;
6. bank on entrepreneurs;
7. support new infrastructures;
8. promote social responsibility;
9. reward responsibility;
10. mobilise public creativity.

I really like the first point: fix the future and do not bail out the past. By pushing glass fibre into the community, a lot of activities can be optimised. Contact with the ageing over glass fibre will increase the attention and security for them at home. Working at home will save time for driving between home and work. The Smart working centre in Almere is one of those experiments. Civil servants of the municipality of Amsterdam living in Almere have only to drive maximally a quarter of an hour in order to start working and they can be in contact with their colleagues by video-conferencing. It saves fuel, reduces CO2 and irritation over the daily long traffic jams. Of course glass fibre is not the saviour of the future. But presently it is a fine means to start stimulating new ideas.

Blog Posting Number: 1308


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