Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dutch Northern Wing gets broadband infrastructure

Broadband developments succeed each other rapidly in The Netherlands. Yesterday I was present at the presentation and the signing for a new broadband infrastructure for business, Breednet or translated Broadnet. The objective of the project is to offer affordable broadband connections for companies with fiber to the office at 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Fourteen municipalities, all located in the Northern Wing (see dar area on the map), will cooperate. The project will sponsored by the ministry of Economic Affairs, which will double the amount of money by the municipalities to 3,5 million euro, and will last 2 years.

The Northern Wing is in the Netherlands the region which clustered around Amsterdam. It has also been called the multimedia corridor. In the crossmedia study last year, it became clear that the Northern wing was a fast growing area in the field of creativity. So a project of digital market places was set up, but with Broadnet the focus has been re-directed. The basic idea is now to connect all existing local broadband networks with each other. So the Hilversum Glass fiber network will be connected with the Almere broadband network. So instead of routing data through internet connections participants in one local network can directly connect to participants in another local network. The basic idea is that new services will originate.

Target group of Broadnet are companies and institutes. In the Northern Wing there are 35.000 ICT and creative companies and institutes, which employ 178.000 people. The first groups are ICT companies and creative companies and institutes. Eventually there will be cross-overs from ICT to health care, education and trading. Basic effect will be the scaling up of the broadband network; a larger area for service companies and flexible and superior B2B traffic. Just think about the movie distribution company which forwards weekly 3 terabyte in movie content and now travels from a town without a glass fiber network with a load of 50 hard disks to Amsterdam Telecity to store the latest offer from Hollywood.

The project is a private public cooperation (in Dutch the acronym PPS is used). The private sector takes care of investing in the last mile; the public sector will bring together the demand and supervise the projects. The public and private sector together will offer services and communication/promotion of the project to companies and institutes.

Broadnet is seen as leverage for business. Companies and institutes – in first instance ICT and creative companies and institutes – can work faster and more securely. The project will also generate new business models and new services. Broadnet will offer new and powerful combinations of services. Some of these new services have already been demonstrated on local networks such as Fabchannel on the Amsterdam CityNet and the Institute for Image and Sound on the Mediagateway, but also tele-consultation in health care and camera surveillance in Utrecht.

Of course the last question is always what a connection will cost. Statements are always made about a reasonable price. In this case companies will pay 250 euro for a 100Mbps sync connection. Of course faster speeds such as 1Gbps will have another price tag. It is clear that the Broadnet project will have an effect of speeding up the uptake of broadband in the Northern Wing, to start with the ICT sector and the creative industry.

Blog Posting Number: 796

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