Posts about European Commission

Smart Cities Require a Smart Approach to Technology

Talk about Smart Cities seems to be a hot topic at many of the conferences I have attended in the past year.  What is driving this interest? Is it technology? Economic issues? Energy Concerns? Other? From what I have seen it is a little bit of all – but it has definitely gained momentum since the publication of the United Nations’ State of the World Population 2011 report, which stated that the global population is expected to grow from 7 billion in 2011 to 9.3 billion by 2050 and as high as 15 billion by 2100.

Along with this expected rise in population is the continued migration from rural areas to urban areas and the creation of huge population centers referred to as “urban agglomerations”, but perhaps better known as “mega-cities”. According to the same report, 50 percent of the worlds’ population currently lives in urban areas and within 35 years this will grow to 67 percent, putting unprecedented demand on infrastructure, energy consumption and services. As such, innovation in urban design, technologies, and services.cities need to become smarter in order to remain sustainable. Read the full post

Is Europe on Track to Meet Digital Agenda Targets?

One year ago, at the FTTH Conference 2011 in Milan, there was great excitement about how the new Digital Agenda targets could catalyse the market for fibre to the home (FTTH).

The target for availability called for every citizen in Europe to have access to 30Mbps broadband by 2020. The target around uptake was even more ambitious: the European Commission wanted half of all subscribers to be taking 100Mbps services by 2020. As Chris Holden, president of the FTTH Council Europe, pointed out at the time, such a high penetration would require almost ubiquitous availability of 100Mbps services – something that FTTH is well placed to deliver. Read the full post

The Human Cloud and IT’s Arab Spring

I’m fascinated by the human cloud. I believe it represents a seismic shift in the way we work and in the very way we live. The notion that we can use the rapid advancements in global networks to build an online workforce not bound by office locations, able to work effectively from anywhere, at anytime, is tantalising. For many companies, the human cloud is already a critical part of business operations. Indeed, as the global recession continues to bite and the demand to find a greener existence deepens, the human cloud presents a unique and unchallenged opportunity.

However, there are still critical barriers to overcome before we can truly embrace the possibilities of a global human cloud. Some of these barriers are technological, while some are more ideological. In fact, it may well be the latter that are the most difficult to overcome. As the Economist highlighted in a recent article, we’re in the midst of an IT Arab Spring. Yet it’s not governments that are being overthrown here but the old guard of corporate IT. Read the full post

A New Year: A New Era for Broadband?

Barely days into the New Year and the flames surrounding the net neutrality debate have once again flared. There are few who will have missed the media furore this week over BT’s launch of its Content Connect service. A number of the UK’s national press and open access groups are calling this a breach of the basic principles of net neutrality and the first step towards a two-tier Internet.

To many within the industry, what BT is proposing is nothing new. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have existed for some time and are widely used by many media providers today. One need only look at Akami to see such an example. In this respect, a two-tier Internet already exists. However, what’s different about BT’s offering is that they could potentially own the CDN and the last-mile infrastructure over which the data is carried.

Read the full post

Is this the Final Curtain Call for the Open Internet?

To anyone who thought the furore over net neutrality was quietening to a gentle murmur, recent events on both sides of the Atlantic have once again brought the debate into sharp focus. Many within the industry are now starting to question whether the open Internet will soon become a two-tier service dominated by traffic management. At this stage, the diagnosis for an open Internet doesn’t look promising.

Surprisingly it wasn’t the FCC that reignited the debate on net neutrality but the European Commission. Until now, Europe’s governing bodies have remained largely silent on issues such as bandwidth throttling and traffic management, hinting that no new regulations are required to oversee service providers. However, in a speech delivered in Brussels last week, Neelie Kroes gave her strongest indication yet that she believes in the need for traffic management to optimise services and stimulate new business opportunities.

Read the full post