telecom, technology and the occasional floobergeist

I’ve got an abundance of bits and pieces of canadian telecom and internet experience, and I am thrilled to be in a place in time when all is changing, technology is developing, and the status quo is being disrupted. 

Floobergeist is a word that is beginning to defy definition.  The more I roll that smooth pebble around, the more it becomes to mean. Floobergeist started out as the magic dust that turns dreams into ideas.  And then it began to encompass the zing that happens when you have conversations about those ideas. And now, it’s the whole evolution from dream to conversation, with each step improving the later and the former along the way.

Everyone aspires to good conversations. They can lead you to adventures you’ve never imagined, and to people you can twig with.

Let’s have a good conversation…


Filtering by Category: the curious tale of the girl and the telco

Rogers, Allstream and Person to Join Together for NewFoundland Fibre Network?

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - Newfoundland is considering the construction of a second fibre-optic link to Nova Scotia that would prevent 911 services from shutting down as they did last week, Premier Danny Williams said Thursday.

The provincial government has been scrutinizing the $82-million proposal by Rogers Communications (TSX: RCI - news), MTS Allstream Inc. (TSX:MBT - news) and Persona Communications Inc. for at least several months. If approved, the project would provide a much-needed alternate connection for the only province in Canada that currently depends on a single carrier, Williams said.

A minor fire at a Bell Aliant (TSX: BA.UN) switching station that eliminated residential and mobile phone service throughout the provincial capital last Friday underscores the need for another link, Williams said.

Newfoundland pondering second line to Nova Scotia in wake of phone outage - Yahoo! News

A few obvious questions here: Did the goverment give Bell Aliant ao opportunity to provide their own redundancy and diversity plan? You would think that it would be easier to redesign and augment the network, rather than create a whole new duplicate one, especially for a province where burying fibre must be a considerable expense. That being said, with Rogers and Allstream, they've likely still got "decommissioned but not disassembled" radio towers floating all over the Rock.

Second Question: This isn't the first time that Rogers and Allstream have entertained a wild idea - [remember innikshuk?], will the incusion of Persona add sticking power to the relationship?

technorati tags:, , ,

MTS Allstream and Hydro One Contract Renewal

MTS Allstream has secured a three-year extension to its data services contract with Hydro One, Ontario's electricity delivery company.Under the terms of the contract, MTS Allstream will continue to supply Hydro One with several data services, focussed on speed, low delay and reliability of data transfer, in support of bandwidth-intensive applications requiring real-time transport of voice, data and video.

mediacastermagazine.com - Mediacaster - 10/23/2006

It's good to see that Allstream continues to resign contracts with existing customers. One intersting point of note - the Hydro One contract is with the enterprise division of Allstream, and not the wholesale division. An interesting angle to take, considering the expansion of the wholesale markets in Canada. One of Allstream's strenghts is wholesale. It would do a world of good if the rest of the beast realized it, and allowed the wholesale group to grow and expand. The Allstream Wholesale division shouldn't be treated like the ugly red-haired stepchild, stuck locked in the attic.

technorati tags:, ,

Federal government Fights Over Telco Surplus

A few months ago, you may have heard of the "Deferral Accout". For the past few years, there has been an extra bit of change on your phone bill, the gov't of Canada got wind of it, and told the incumbent telcos that taking extra bits of change frome people was off side, and that if they wanted to say on the right side of the law, theny needed to use that money to help improve the communications incrastructure in remote areas of Canada.(Read: areas that don't have access to high speed internet).

The telcos were thrilled, but the little companies who were already doing their own thing to boost the bandwidth (Barrett Explorer) fought back and said it was unfair for the Bells and TELUSs of the world to get this *free money* and they have temporarily blocked the usa. Now, it looks like the federal government was looking to get it's hands on that cash, just for kicks.

Michael Geist has the pointer, and here's the story from the Globe.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

The Challenges of Data Centres

Data centers are the most expensive real estate that most businesses own. The price tag for a new 50,000-square-foot data center with 40 watts of power per square foot is around $20 million, says Bruce Shaw, VP of worldwide commercial and enterprise marketing for chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices. By 2010, he estimates that price could jump more than 1,000%.

New Challenges For Data Center Managers - News by InformationWeek

technorati tags:, , ,

Blogged with Flock

Building Visionary VoIP Solutions

How does a traditional telco build visionary VoIP solutions? How do they manage the fine balance between preserving traditional revenues, while generating new revenues and taking an increase in marketshare from competitors?

That's my job for today, determining strategy for VoIP, and the VoIP reseller markets that I am servicing.

technorati tags:

Blogged with Flock

Thoughts while Commuting...

Now that i've got more time to think (commuting to the new gig), i used this morning's uber-slow, rainy drive to figure out how to make the whole net neutrality mess make sense for my new company who cannot be named (TM)

A few things hit me:

  1. The theory of actually, technically being able to differentiate bits across the internet is pretty far fetched. The ability to give one http packet preferential service over another http packet is likely absurd and unfeasible.
    • this would even be the case of for VoIP packets, so a carrier really couldn't prefer it's own VoIP product's packets over a competitor's packets, even if there was a way to do it…. and if the consumer moved their VoIP service between, say, home and cottage, and they had 2 different ISPs between home and cottage, the carrier could end up deprioritizing it's own service eventually…..
  2. If, for a second, carriers COULD figure out how to differentiate, then, in theory, you could actually offer different classes of service to consumers, and let THEM choose the priority of their packets. That would make infinite more sense, and would allow customers to put some muscle behind some of the applications that are just beginning to emerge.. ie home security, health monitoring, video conferencing etc…
  3. The biggest hurdle to differentiation is that carriers all have their own models for classes of service. Allstream's is different from Bells is different from AT&Ts is different from Verizons… and so on. Trying to get every carrier in the world to agree on one standard would likely be impossible…. so - even if a carrier says they are going to prefer one packet over another, it's only ever going to work on THEIR OWN NETWORK. Once it gets off their network, all bets are off…

So - what do we do? Well, someone really does have to help pay for enhancements to next generation networks. And likely the heaviest users of the network should be paying more than the consumer….

Historically, the cost of 1 mbps of bandwidth was theoretically the same, regardless of who you were… oh sure, wholesale and volume discounts could apply, but really, 1 mbps was 1 mbps…. Carriers didn't do themselves any favours, by simply dropping the prices for internet service across the board, and now are in a position that sees internet connectivity as a declining revenue product.

What if the carriers could differentiate on the *types* of bandwidth. If you were a customer who required IP transit, or used BGP, or needed redundancy/diversity, the cost of 1 Mbps of bandwidth would be MORE than if you were just in the market for internet connectivity. It would be a completely different pricing model. So the small business who just needed 10 Mbps of internet connectivity (and would rely on their own ISP for routing) would have a different per/Mbps price than a large business, say, IBM who needed IP transit to various different ISPs….

This new model could still satisfy those folks who are worried about the stifling of internet innovation, and yet protect carriers as well. If you were a wee web application company, you wouldn't need the whole IP transit/Redundancy/BGP product, all you would need is the "standard" service. You would still be accessible to the world, and you could beta test to your hearts desire. Once you had proven you had something that people wanted, and were willing to pay for, you would upgrade to the IP transit version, guaranteeing your connectivity.

It's not like that now, atleast not with the different companies i've had the pleasure to work with… but it could be canada's answer to net neutrality.

I'm off to get ready for the next commute - and to think about the alternatives…. what if the internet backbone mimicked Frame Relay? You would have Port speed and CIR to deal with… and the ability to "burst", and then you would have packets that were "discard eligible" if you started to run out of bandwidth…..


a cup of wireless...

…poured liberally over the downtown Toronto Core. But if you look at the map that Toronto Hydro has set forth, to blanket us in warm frequencies, the mesh doesn't slip past front street. Alas, I am a block south, and a block west of Hydro's new plan. Of course. In reality, perhaps it's not the residential market that Hydro wants, but all the workers, and corporate folks who jaunt from spot to spot, lugging laptops to coffee, that they are trying to snare. Or perhaps it's the smaller shops, the companies that are now fodder for the GBM space that telcos pay such poor attention to?

Whatever it is, it's started, and expected to be complete by December 2006. Now that's an aggressive plan, i hope they are successful! Now if only i can dump the boat anchor cum laptop and get something sexy and light and sophisticated, just so i'm ready for that next grande white chocolate mocha meeting.

Technorati :

Movements in networks....

Concepts such as net neutrality, and SOA Network Enablement are starting to pop up, and people are starting to take notice…

That being said, i'm not entirely sure that the 2 concepts have been linked together, and they likely should, you can't have one discussion without the other, and there are some mighty big players fighting for and against net neutrality. But if net neutrality wins out, what impact is that going to have on all these nifty soa enabled networks and service offerings that bigwhigs are toiling on?

If net neutrality means that carriers have to have blinders on, with regards to what sorts of bits are passing along their network, what sort of impact could that have on SOA architectures? Architectures that rely on bigger, faster, better network connectivity?

Of course, right now, the fight is between carriers and content providers, and the fact that content providers are using more bandwidth (though the mere action of their internet visitors), than what they are really paying for at their hub end… In theory, this is simply the cost of doing business, and the cost of creating a network that meets consumer and corporate requirements. Carriers shouldn't really be whining - they created the pricing model. They created the demand for more bandwidth. They just happened to create a model with very little margin, and too easy to commoditize. (For a really good read on the importance of net neutrality, check out Vint Cerf's Letter to Congress)

Being in telco, and seeing both the carrier and the content provider sides, and also having the luxury of having broadband access at home, the challenges are interesting. My gut says that, in theory at least, that content providers should pay for "premium" connectivity, and boy, they better buy ALOT of it, from many different carriers. Google would/should pay inflated prices for bandwidth from the tier 1 providers, and if tier 2 providers wanted to offer "private peering", they could do that to enhance their own customer's experiences on the 'net. That makes sense. That's likely what is not happening now, Google likely has the volumes to demand dirt cheap bandwidth. They can throw their weight around.

The alternative, which is sort of nasty, is that carriers charge their customers, not the content providers, for what data is transferred…. thereby creating a different, user=pay mentality. This drives up the cost of consumer internet connectivity, and simply increases the divide between who can and who cannot use the internet. We would end up with an ugly hybrid of the PSTN service in the UK, where every call costs.

Now, flip the coin…. if there is no differentiation between content, and all bits are created equal, we are going to find outselves in hot water when we want to start adopting SOA services… services that are going to DEMAND QoS, and reliability, and availability. Services that aren't going to be very forgiving about latency and jitter. Skype comes to mind. Vonage, Microsoft Live Office. Anything internactive in Web 2.0

There has to be a happy middle ground between blind bits and visible bits. I want my Skype traffic to have QoS. I don't want to pay for QoS for my google searches. Make sense? I can't possibly have been the first person to say out loud that QoS and the need to have it as a nice paying option is a good deal for the internet.

Say it together everyone - MPLS for all!!! I'll gladly pay for that. So would content providers, so would carriers… you can discriminate - in a good way.

Oh yah, while we're at it - I also want to be able to tag my own bits, and some days i might want to have QoS on my Google destined bits. Some days maybe I want it on my shockwave gaming bits ;-)

See, easy. No more fighting about net neutrality.

Technorati : ,