The Broadband World Forum, held this year for the first time in Amsterdam opened with an introduction from Richard Taylor of the BBC technology programme ‘Click’, who recalled that when the show launched on the in the year 2000 he had a 512Kb ADSL connection installed in his office that enabled him to watch a 32k stream of the show in a small window on his computer screen: – and it felt like the future. Now the future has arrived of course, and we are able to enjoy streams of our favourite shows in glorious high definition. Listen to Richards opening note.
The show itself opened with Ericssons CTO Ulf Ewaldsson, who declared that we were on the brink of the ‘Networked Society’ – with 85 per cent of all the world covered with 2G voice, 45 per cent population coverage with 3G and 5 per cent covered by 4G system, which he expected to reach 50 per cent in the next five years. There are a billion phones with internet connectivity and 11 million cars enjoying online connectivity. The predictions continued with a billion mobile subscribers and twenty times traffic growth in the next five years, mostly from video, which today accounts for 45 per cent of all internet traffic. He also predicted that the development of the network would spur the creation of innovative network aware devices such as helmets and goggles and, using the example of the iPhone 5,that new devices on the network were making uses of functionality in the network that would build the brand on the device side: – “it’s very much about brand building and consumer experience as well as the network side providing functionality” Watch Ulf’s presentation
Hugh was followed by Huwaei’s Western European President, Kevin Tao, who called on telco’s to transform themselves to handle the huge data demands that are required, declaring that, “the network is becoming the bottleneck of the industry.” He called for simplification of the networks to improve manageability. >>Listen to Kevin
Local operator KPN were represented by its CEO, Eelco Blok, who said that the Netherlands represented a gigabit society with for example a massive 500Gb/s triple-play package from KPN available for 100 euros. However, he said that the broadband industry was still at the early stages and that new services would come online from eHealth, enhanced personal safety and energy services. Much more work needed to be done he said, with only a few countries in Europe currently offering superfast broadband in any meaningful way. >> See Eelco kicking off the Conference Keynotes
Neelie Kroes, the EU’s digital commissioner said that the Europe was at a crossroads as far as broadband was concerned, and that where it will end up will depend on hard investment decisions being made. She warned that Europe was falling behind other areas of the worlds such as China, Japan and the US in terms of broadband speeds and she called on all operators to lobby their governments to support the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a initiative that would direct EU funds into superfast broadband roll outs, and that if it succeeds an additional 45 million homes would benefit, with concomitant benefits to the wider economy. >> Click here to hear more from Neelie
Hunter Walk, head of product management at Google said that YouTube has become the global living room by bringing entertainment and events to people round the globe. He referenced a conversation with a teenage girl in Bagdad, who said that in the face of restricted access to world views, the YouTube enabled her to, “feel like a global citizen – that allows me to come up with my own version of the truth.” >> Click to watch the video
Finally, the morning was rounded off by an interesting talk from Gerry Pennell, the CIO of LOCOG, who said the key difference between the Beijing Olympics and London was the in 2008 the iPhone was one year old and that there was no expectation of providing large scale connectivity for smartphones – while in London, it was part of daily life and expected, clearly demonstrating how far we’ve moved on, and the challenge of delivering effective mobile broadband. >> Watch the final day 1 keynote
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