Seasonal Wrap-Up

This last week has been unbelievably busy, and I haven't been able to post on any of the topics that I thought were interesting to expand on. Since I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the mountains of Jura and since my data connectivity will be limited (amongst other things because as we now all know you don't want to use your mobile data when on a frontier…) there's a good chance I won't be posting here for at least a week (with the exception of a small but exciting announcement that's already programmed for Monday, watch this space)

And truth be told, I think I deserve a break. Still, I'm always frustrated when there are things I want to talk about and that slip by, so here's the 180mph passover on the main items for consideration:

  • This week KPN announced that its FTTx plans will… continue. I guess it wasn't quite as exciting as some of us hoped and to be fair I even felt the enthusiasm around fiber that was very palpable earlier this year had died down. Surprising, because the numbers they reported were pretty darn good for less than a year of operation (30% takeup on average at 65 EUR/m ARPU with a franky lackluster offering…) My feeling is they're keeping Reggefiber at arm's length to send a conservative message to the financial community, but the risk with that strategy is that Reggefiber's own business model isn't sustained by a lackluster offer and a lack of strong commitment to wholesale (they didn't even mention wholesale in the whole presentation.) Hopefully, part of my feeling comes from a format designed for financial analysts, but I'm slightly concerned…
  • A few days after I published my piece on Bandwidth Hogs (and hopefully with no correlation whatsoever) AT&T made some comments about hogs themselves, although they shied away of calling them that. Anyway, strong hints that heavy iPhone users needed to be "educated" got the press in an uproar, culminating in Fake Steve Job's call for a customer induced network collapse at Noon today (US-time). I'm guessing since my twitter didn't go crazy that either AT&T's network didn't collapse or iPhone users can't use twitter anymore. Still, it highlights again the ambiguous position of telcos whose access business is profitable but not what they want to be doing…
  • Closer to home, a French MP declared war on the Internet this week. Jacques Myard stated in a radio interview that "Today, the internet is completely rotten." Calling it a major national security risk, he asks for a nationalisation of the network and a Chinese style security perimeter. Unsurprisingly, this MP is a member of the presidential party UMP whose dislike of all things internet is nothing new. Hard to decided if I'm frightened more at the deep willingness of media control that is hidden behind this or at the utter stupidity of elected MPs…
  • Also in France, it was announced this morning that Free had won the 4th mobile licence. While there wasn't a huge amount of suspense since they were the only ones to have submitted a bid, there was some uncertainty around political pressures. So the news came as a relief that France is still a free market – at least to a certain extend. The next couple of years are going to be really interesting both to see how and how much Free's play affects the French market overall and how Free as a company manages to evolve to address this new challenge. Even though this is not the core topic of this blog, I will be posting about this as their FTTH and they mobile strategies are clearly tied.

Finally, a quick update on the advancement of the bandwidth hog thing. Three ISPs have agreed to collaborate with us, but we don't have their datasets yet. We're hoping that we can advance on that early in the new year. I'll keep you posted!

And now it's just time for me to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2010 (although I most likely will be posting a little after the 28th).