Next week is Broadband World Forum in Paris (we like to call it BBWF, sounds more cuddly.) If the strikes and disturbances in France carry over into next week, which frankly is looking likely at this stage, it promises to be fun. I thought I'd write a few lines to help those of you who plan to attend and know little or nothing about Paris. From what I've seen, the foreign media tend to present the situation as France burning, so I thought maybe a little bit of intel from the local guy might help. Here goes:
- There's no reason to fear for your safety. The French demonstrators and strikers are trying to disrupt the country, but they are doing so peacefully. Furthermore, the few clashes there have been between them and police occur during the day and in the heart of the demonstrations, not at trade shows or evening restaurants.
- I suppose things could get worse (they always can) but it's looking very unlikely at this stage. The most likely scenario is simply that as long as the government refuses to negociate, the disruptions will continue.
- As I experienced on Tuesday night (after a big day of strikes), taxis are still operating to and from the international airports, so you should be alright to get to your hotels and back, especially if you're in La Défense. You might queue a little longer than usual (it's tough to find petrol right now, so there might be fewer taxis than usual) but that's about it.
- BBWF is at CNIT, an expo area in La Défense, a few miles west of Paris. La Défense is not in Paris, and you need to take either the metro line 1 or the RER A to get there. The easiest if you want to avoid disruption is therefore to stay in La Défense. Alternatively, you can find hotels in Courbevoie, Nanterre and Puteaux that would be within walking distance. If you have to be in Paris, I recommend staying next to the Charles de Gaulle Etoile metro and RER station which will give you the most options to get to La Défense in case the strikes continue.
- I recommend taking a little more time than you would normally to head over to La Défense if you're not in La Défense. It normally takes 15mn door to door between Charles de Gaulle Etoile and La Défense by RER and about 25mn with the metro line 1. I would add 15mn to these times for safety's sake, unless it's clear that they are not running (again, not the case right now). If you speak French, you can check out www.ratp.fr and click on the Trafic icon to get up to date information on line status. As you can see right now the whole network functions normally.
If you're going, shoot me an email. I have a packed couple of days, but I'd still like to shake hands and have a quick chat. Here's where you can meet with me during the show:
- I'll be chairing a session on Oct. 26th at Noon entitled: Managing the NGN Transition - Big Bang or Phased Migration? This session will have speakers from NTT, Telecom Italia, the Broadband Communication Association, ECI Telecom and will end with a panel session with the above executives as well as one from Alcatel-Lucent.
- I'll also be speaking and participating in a panel myself on Oct. 27th at 2.30 PM entitled Full Services Oriented New Architecture in the age of Ultra-Broadband FTTx. This session will have executives from Orange, Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson, BT and the FTTH Council in addition to yours truly.
In addition to these opportunities to see me speak (I promise to have some jokes ready...), if you're a service provider and you want to meet me in a more intimate way to discuss trends in NGA, I have a half day put aside on Oct. 27th AM for such meetings organised in partnership with ECI Telecom. You can register on their wesbite for a slot.