To a Well Connected 2016

2015 has been a troubled year on the international scene, and while it isn’t our role at Diffraction Analysis to comment news events, no matter how dramatic, they keep haunting our field as well, with a broad and fast extension of the security theater leading to legislation regarding Internet and encryption both ineffective in security terms and damaging in many other ways. Here’s hoping that a tiny bit of common sense prevails in 2016.

For Diffraction Analysis, 2015 was a pivotal year, and our new website is, in a sense, a digital representation of that change. Our geographical focus expanded from Europe towards Asia, and our business is now shifting too with a larger part of revenues coming from non European customers. We are not in any way looking at Europe as secondary as demonstrated by the arrival of our new recruit Guillaume Soulères, based in Paris. Guillaume brings a wealth of experience not just in broadband and policy but more specifically in Smart Cities (technologies, business models and operational implementation).

If I had to pick three topics that I think will be key for us in 2016 (and likely to occupy a lot of our time), these would be my bets:

  • Broadband in Emerging Markets: the policy world is finally recognizing that mobile cannot deliver everything and that there is economic value derived from wireline fiber (if only because it enabled mobile networks). Unfortunately, the policy frameworks to push for wireline development in emerging markets are often patchy or non-existent. This is something that I have discovered in Asia where one would expect that the FTTH leadership would have trickled down. It hasn’t. A big part of our work this year will be in articulating policy tools and technology solutions to boost broadband availability, affordability and quality in emerging markets with a particular focus on Asia (for now).
  • Structural Remedies: halfway between policy and economics, our work into structural separation has led us to examine the relative business cases of pure wholesale infrastructure versus vertically integrated. Our inescapable conclusion is that governments looking to boost future proof broadband coverage without massive subsidies will have to consider structural remedies: the core problem is not that the investment in fiber broadband is not viable in most of the territory, it’s that a vertically integrated market structure dramatically limits the ability of the market players to invest in the long term. We will be publishing, talking and working on these issues both in Europe and in Asia, and looking closely at what is happening in the UK in the coming months.
  • Smart Everything: while a lot of the hype focus these days is on Smart Cities, what is really ahead of us is the ability to smarten just about everything through well applied connecticity. While we don’t pretend or intend to become subject matter experts in all of the verticals that will be enhanced and/or disrupted by this connectivity wave, we do intend to look at the underlying technology and business models and in particular to the infrastructure and technologies that can most efficiently enable “smart”.

As of today, we know of our presence in at least three international events as speakers: the FTTH Council Europe conference in Luxembourg (February 16-19), the FTTH Council Asia-Pacific conference in Bangkok (May 17-18th) and Communicasia in Singapore (June 1-3rd.) We hope to see you and be able to speak to you there.

Meanwhile, here’s wishing you a successful 2016. We anticipate it will be a year full of connections of all kinds, not just the technological ones.