“The last word” (a very popular radioshow in Ireland broadcasted by TodayFM) had scheduled a round table discussion on Broadband in Ireland. Participants were: Rex Combs, CEO of Eircom, John Doherty, ComReg Commissioner, Fran Rooney from Ice Broadband and Damien Mulley from IrelandOffline.
I have listened to these type of discussions again and again since 1995 when I first moved to Ireland and it normally consists of a lot of posturing, name-dropping and lip-service. In the end none if it really amounts to anything. Even Ireland Offline with all their good intentions have achieved very little since they were first formed. Yes, there is more broadband Internet available than 5 years ago but we are still near the bottom of the European statistics and I am fairly sure that the little growth that we have had would have happened anyway. Lobying or no lobying…
As this subject is close enough to my heart to sometimes bring my blood-pressure to dangerously high levels I decided to email the show with some questions that I would like them to ask the participants.
Below are my questions:
– Why all the talk about Local Loop Unbundling when this makes no real business sense ?
– What is ComReg doing to stimulate the establishment of an alternative telecoms infrastructure?
– Can ComReg explain the strange licensing structure the WiFi & Wimax frequencies that will only lead to interference between networks?
– What is causing the delay in the MAN rollout as supported by the EU (http://muniwireless.com/municipal/watch/1091).
– What has happened to all the funding allocated to the Group Broadband schemes that was never spent?
– On that note what is happening to ensure that the established GBS’s are achieving their targets?
Did these questions get featured? Off course not. Instead what we got was some general, rhetorical questions that were mostly brushed over. Most of the participants busied themselves spouting the usual buzzwords (wireless, WiFi, Wimax, FWA etc.) But to discuss the plan to bring Wimax to the 5 main urban areas, which are already served by DSL, cable, FWA & FTTH, while the majority of the rural areas are not or under-served by broadband is just puzzling to say the least.
I will not start blowing our own trumpet but this proves to me again that Wimax EU is jumping into a huge opening in the market.
To be fair I have to admit that I received an email from the show today.
Quote: “Hi Evert,
Thank you very much for getting in touch and for contributing your comments. I’m also sorry to read from Damien’s blog that you were disappointed with the outcome of the discussion. Please be assured that it is something we will be returning to in the new year so hopefully we will be able to cover many other aspects of the subject in time – it is very hard to have a satisfying and rounded discussion in the amount of time we are allotted in the show.
Please keep in touch if you feel there are developments we should be aware of, and I will give you a call when we are coming back to this in the new year.
Assistant Producer, The Last Word”
I will see what happens….