Monday, June 11, 2007

Meeting with head of the association for our residence / Parler avec le president de notre residence

Saturday I walked down to talk to the head of our residence association about the fiber plan. He was very open to the idea of the project and we talked for about 30 minutes about what I think we should do. He said that he'd allow me a few minutes to make my case at the association meeting on June 13th.

In some ways it may be an uphill battle. The association has had trouble before convincing everyone that now is the time to redo the road. There seems to be a split among the younger residents (for the repairs) and older residents (against).

While we were talking he said that he could understand why I would want to put in the network but that the connection he has now is sufficient for their family. The mayor said the same thing when I met with him.

I think this highlights a challenge for all municipal or local rollouts. We don't appreciate what high-speed broadband can be used for when we haven't had access to it at home. It reminds me of a conference I attended a few years back where someone stood up and said that his software company of 10-15 people did just fine sharing an 64 kbit/s connection. There was an audible gasp in the room.

In these cases I typically explain how much bandwidth is required for one HDTV stream (10 Mbit/s). However, there are other applications I think will have an even larger impact on our everday lives. One of these will likely be teleworking. Sure, it hasn't panned out yet but all the new focus on reducing carbon emissions is bound to make it a more attractive option in the future.

Luckily the cable company Noos has done me a huge favor with the association president and others in the village. There is this rage directed at the company that lurks beneath the surface here among its subscribers. I've never seen anything like it with a company before. It's not just our village either. Noos was recently put under surveillance by the DGCCRF (Competition and Consumer Fraud Department of the Finance Ministry). The president of the association said that while his connection worked well that he had lots of difficulties with them over billing.

Noos is making selling this idea much easier.

1 comment:

dirk van der woude said...

@ Teleworking & fiber: it's one of the central themes in the CO2 cooperation between Cisco and Amsterdam, Seoul and San Francisco!

From a Cisco page:

What role can ICT play in promoting green, more carbon-efficient ways of living and working?

Job Cohen [Mayor of Amsterdam]: Because of our fiber network, we are able to diminish the need for transportation and therefore create more efficient and thus 'greener' ways with regard to our working processes.

What is the Connected Urban Development Initiative?

Nicola Villa [Head of Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group]: The Connected Urban Development initiative aims to create an urban communications infrastructure that makes the flow of information, knowledge, people and traffic more efficient, which in turn enhances how people experience life in and around cities.

Through the innovative use of ICT, cities can improve energy efficiency; reduce carbon emissions from cars, trains, buses, and other forms of transportation; and enhance urban design and management.

The CGI cities of Amsterdam, Seoul and San Francisco are currently piloting Cisco's Connected Urban Development initiative.

How important is it for the public and private sectors to collaborate in searching for ways to combat climate change?

Job Cohen: Since climate change concerns us all, the collaboration of both the public and private sector is an absolute necessity. A global problem can only be challenged when thoughts and ideas are united, not divided.

Why is Cisco interested in Connected Urban Development and how much is it investing?

Nicola Villa: We believe the movement of people and traffic within and across cities can be as efficient as the movement of traffic on the Internet.

Understanding the potential and capabilities the network as a platform has to change the way people work, live, play and learn, opens the possibilities for solving this problem in innovative, effective and greatly scaleable ways.

Cisco is investing USD$15 million in people, research, and equipment over the next five years to pilot this initiative. The investment will include five people from IBSG, as well as a series of research investments and product donations to help design the cities of the future.