11 February 2015 marked the beginning of the FTTH Council Europe Conference in Warsaw, for the first time organised in Poland. The minister of Administration and Digitization, the Minister of Infrastructure and Development and the President of UKE granted their patronage to the event.
The FTTH Conference is the largest global forum that brings together decision makers of the European Commission and national governments, specialists, analysts and experts of the broadband sector. The conference features speeches and debates but also numerous expert workshops, practical demonstrations and exhibitions of products, solutions and trends. An inherent part of the FTTH conference is the presentation of the FTTH Council Europe Awards for the promotion of ideas and creation of favourable conditions to build the FTTH network in Europe. The individual award went to Dutch investor Dik Wessels, and the operator award to the Portuguese DS TELECOM.
The opening ceremony was honoured by the presence of high-level representatives of the Polish administration: Andrzej Halicki
, Minister of Administration and Digitization, Iwona Wendel
, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development and Magdalena Gaj
, President of the Office of Electronic Communications; as well as Karin Ahl
, President of FTTH Council and Fatima Barros
, President of BEREC.
In his speech Minister Halicki referred to the 25 years of the country's freedom, which has been a period of a huge civilisation leap. – We are all still witnessing the process, as the development and expansion of modern fibre infrastructure keeps inducing deep and irreversible changes in the way we work and live. Access to the FTTH network is a spur for many innovative solutions, thanks to which – to quote Galileo – we may see things one day which we cannot yet imagine. After a brief summary of investment projects in the scope of broadband networks, he assured that the area is treated as a priority by the Ministry of Administration and Digitization.
The President of UKE, Magdalena Gaj, by contrast, referred to the two most popular myths, related to the construction of backbone distribution networks: the first claiming that broadband networks will be redundant and unused, and the second that they will be too expensive for the end-user. – In 1920 David Sarnoff, when asked whether to invest in the radio, answered that the “wireless music box had no imaginable commercial value” and wondered who would pay for a message sent to "nobody in particular"? (…) This anecdote shows that sometimes it is worth being a visionary not to miss a huge opportunity. Later in her speech, President Gaj argued why the stability and speed of an Internet connection are so crucial to cross-border companies, public health institutions, financial institutions, schools and media: - Internet is the bloodstream of economy. Development of fibre infrastructure will lead to even further economic growth and contribute to a better quality of life, enabling such services as e-business, e-health, teleworking or e-learning– Magdalena Gaj pointed out.
She introduced the perspective of FTTH network end-user: – One can easily imagine that, as a result of widespread access to ultra-fast Internet, students from less developed countries and rural areas will be able to study at the best universities from home – thanks to e-learning platforms mums will be able to work from home, sharing their time between work and raising a child, and the elderly will have an opportunity to consult a doctor without leaving their homes and without uncomfortable waiting in lines.
The agenda of this year's meeting included 14 thematic sessions. In the executive panel on the future role of the network in Europe and the world, chaired by the executive team of the FTTH Council, the panellists emphasised that fast broadband lines are the basis of competitiveness in Europe. Other meetings mostly focused on different issues related to the FTTH networks, including intelligent cities, network application in e-administration and e-learning, construction and financing of infrastructure and innovative solutions.
On 10 February nine expert workshops were also held, presenting different perspectives of the FTTH network development, including national and local government, investor, technical and operator’s perspectives. One of the workshops presented the Polish experience in the scope of planning, design and construction of the FTTH network and was held with the participation of i.a. UKE experts: Marzena Śliz
, Director of the Department of Infrastructure Development, Luiza Czyż-Trzcianowska
, Director of the Department of Wholesale Telecommunications Market, Tomasz Karamon
, Director of the Department of Technology and Tomasz Bato
r, Director of the Department of Strategy and Telecommunications Market Analysis.
An account from the workshops can be found on the Broadband Poland web portal: http://www.polskaszerokopasmowa.pl/artykuly/polski-aspekt-inwestycji-w-ftth.html
* * * FTTH
(Fibber to the home) − is a type of broadband telecommunications system, designed for the home user and offering services such as television, the Internet and telephone services (VoIP). FTTH Council Europe
– is an organisation whose mission is to accelerate the construction of high-speed fibre access networks, for the benefit of consumers and businesses.
The Council was established in 2004 and currently has over 150 members: mainly the organisations that apply FTTH and the manufacturers of FTTH solutions.
In December 2014 the FTTH Council released an FTTH network construction manual, which was translated into Polish. The guidelines contained in this manual are intended to serve as a global forum for the exchange of experience to stimulate the development of fibre optic networks. The manual is available on the UKE website: http://www.uke.gov.pl/podrecznik-budowy -sieci-FTTH-15173