You Want Money for a Data Center Buildout?

Yield to Cloud A couple years ago I attended several “fast pitch” competitions and events for entrepreneurs in Southern California, all designed to give startups a chance to “pitch” their ideas in about 60 seconds to a panel of representatives from the local investment community.  Similar to television’s “Shark Tank,” most of the ideas pitches were harshly critiqued, with the real intent of assisting participating entrepreneurs in developing a better story for approaching investors and markets.

While very few of the pitches received a strong, positive response, I recall one young guy who really set the panel back a step in awe.  The product was related to biotech, and the panel provided a very strong, positive response to the pitch.

Wishing to dig a bit deeper, one of the panel members asked the guy how much money he was looking for in an investment, and how he’d use the money.

“$5 million he responded,” with a resounding wave of nods from the panel.  “I’d use around $3 million for staffing, getting the office started, and product development.”  Another round of positive expressions.  “And then we’d spend around $2 million setting up in a data center with servers, telecoms, and storage systems.”

This time the panel looked as if they’d just taken a crisp slap to the face.  After a moment of collection, the panel spokesman launched into a dress down of the entrepreneur stating “I really like the product, and think you vision is solid.  However, with a greater then 95% chance of your company going bust within the first year, I have no desire to be stuck with $2 million worth of obsolete computer hardware, and potentially contract liabilities once you shut down your data center.  You’ve got to use your head and look at going to Amazon for your data center capacity and forget this data center idea.”

Now it was the entire audience’s turn to take a pause.

In the past IT managers really placed buying and controlling their own hardware, in their own facility, as a high priority – with no room for compromise.  For perceptions of security, a desire for personal control, or simply a concern that outsourcing would limit their own career potential, sever closets and small data centers were a common characteristic of most small offices.

At some point a need to have proximity to Internet or communication exchange points, or simple limitations on local facility capacity started forcing a migration of enterprise data centers into commercial colocation.  For the most part, IT managers still owned and controlled any hardware outsourced into the colocation facility, and most agreed that in general colocation facilities offered higher uptime, fewer service disruptions, and good performance, in particular for eCommerce sites.

Now we are at a new IT architecture crossroads.  Is there really any good reason for a startup, medium, or even large enterprise to continue operating their own data center, or even their own hardware within a colocation facility?  Certainly if the average CFO or business unit manager had their choice, the local data center would be decommissioned and shut down as quickly as possible.  The CAPEX investment, carrying hardware on the books for years of depreciation, lack of business agility, and dangers of business continuity and disaster recovery costs force the question of “why don’t we just rent IT capacity from a cloud service provider?”

Many still question the security of public clouds, many still question the compliance issues related to outsourcing, and many still simply do not want to give up their “soon-to-be-redundant” data center jobs.

Of course it is clear most large cloud computing companies have much better resources available to manage security than a small company, and have made great advances in compliance certifications (mostly due to the US government acknowledging the role of cloud computing and changing regulations to accommodate those changes).  If we look at the US Government’s FedRAMP certification program as an example, security, compliance, and management controls are now a standard – open for all organizations to study and adopt as appropriate.

So we get back to the original question, what would justify a company in continuing to develop data centers, when a virtual data center (as the first small step in adopting a cloud computing architecture) will provide better flexibility, agility, security, performance, and lower cost than operating a local of colocated IT physical infrastructure?  Sure, exceptions exist, including some specialized interfaces on hardware to support mining, health care, or other very specialized activities.  However if you re not in the computer or switch manufacturing business – can you really continue justifying CAPEX expenditures on IT?

IT is quickly becoming a utility.  As a business we do not plan to build roads, build water distribution, or build our own power generation plants.  Compute, telecom, and storage resources are becoming a utility, and IT managers (and data center / colocation companies) need to do a comprehensive review of their business and strategy, and find a way to exploit this technology reality, rather than allow it to pass us by.

It is Time to Consider Wireless Mesh Networking in Our Disaster Recovery Plans

Wireless Mesh Networking (WMN) has been around for quite a few years.  However, not until recently, when protesters in Cairo and Hong Kong used utilities such as Firechat to bypass the mobile phone systems and communicate directly with each other, did mesh networking become well known.

Wireless Mesh Networking WMN establishes an ad hoc communications network using the WiFi (802.11/15/16) radios on their mobile phones and laptops to connect with each other, and extend the connectable portion of the network to any device with WMN software.  Some devices may act as clients, some as mesh routers, and some as gateways.  Of course there are more technical issues to fully understand with mesh networks, however the bottom line is if you have an Android, iOS, or software enabled laptop you can join, extend, and participate in a WMN.

In locations highly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or wildfire, access to communications can most certainly mean the difference between surviving and not surviving.  However, during disasters, communications networks are likely to fail.

The same concept used to allow protesters in Cairo and Hong Kong to communicate outside of the mobile and fixed telephone networks could, and possibly should, have a role to play in responding to disasters.

An interesting use of this type of network was highlighted in a recent novel by Matthew Mather, entitled “Cyberstorm.”  Following a “Cyber” attack on the US Internet and connected infrastructures, much of the fixed communications infrastructure was rendered inoperable, and utilities depending on networks also fell under the impact.  An ad hoc WMN was built by some enterprising technicians, using the wireless radios available within most smart phones.  This allowed primarily messaging, however did allow citizens to communicate with each other – and the police, by interconnecting their smart phones into the mesh.

We have already embraced mobile phones, with SMS instant messaging, into many of our country’s emergency notification systems.  In California we can receive instant notifications from emergency services via SMS and Twitter, in addition to reverse 911.  This actually works very well, up to the point of a disaster.

WMN may provide a model for ensuring communications following a disaster.  As nearly every American now has a mobile phone, with a WiFi radio, the basic requirements for a mesh network are already in our hands.  The main barrier, today, with WMN is the distance limitations between participating access devices.  With luck WiFi antennas will continue to increase in power, reducing distance barriers, as each new generation is developed.

There are quite a few WMN clients available for smart phones, tablets, and WiFi-enabled devices today.  While many of these are used as instant messaging and social platforms today, just as with other social communications applications such as Twitter, the underlying technology can be used for many different uses, including of course disaster communications.

Again, the main limitation on using WMNs in disaster planning today is the limited number of participating nodes (devices with a WiFi radio), distance limitations with existing wireless radios and protocols, and the fact very few people are even aware of the concept of WMNs and potential deployments or uses.  The more participants in a WMN, the more robust is becomes, the better performance the WMN will support, and the better chance your voice will be heard during a disaster.

Here are a couple WMN Disaster Support ideas I’d like to either develop, or see others develop:

  • Much like the existing 911 network, a WMN standard could and should be developed for all mobile phone devices, tablets, and laptops with a wireless radio
  • Each mobile device should include an “App” for disaster communications
  • Cities should attempt to install WMN compatible routers and access points, particularly in areas at high risk for natural disasters, which could be expected to survive the disaster
  • Citizens in disaster-prone areas should be encouraged to add a solar charging device to their earthquake, wildfire, and  other disaster-readiness kits to allow battery charging following an anticipated utility power loss
  • Survivable mesh-to-Internet gateways should be the responsibility of city government, while allowing citizen or volunteer gateways (including ham radio) to facilitate communications out of the disaster area
  • Emergency applications should include the ability to easily submit disaster status reports, including photos and video, to either local, state, or FEMA Incident Management Centers

That is a start.

Take a look at Wireless Mesh Networks.  Wikipedia has a great high-level explanation, and  Google search yields hundreds of entries.  WMNs are nothing new, but as with the early days of the Internet, are not getting a lot of attention.  However maybe at sometime in the future a WMN could save your life.

Burbank Takes on Puppy Mills – Part 1

On October 16, members of the community, animal rescue organizations, and local pet store owners gathered at the Burbank City Council meeting to weigh in on the highly emotional issue of the sale of dogs and cats in Burbank, with a focus on commercially bred animals sourced from “puppy mills.”

While there are numerous local, state, and federal laws regulating pet shops and animal sales, animal rights groups contend those regulations are either not adequately enforced, or  are not sufficient to protect the rights of animals shipped to Burbank from commercial breeders (mostly from out of state, sourced in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas).

Pet shop owners believe their animals are well-cared for, checked upon receipted by veterinarians,  come from reputable breeders, and comply with all applicable regulations and laws.

Over the next three weeks BurbankNBeyond will look at the issue in detail, from the positions of animal rights groups such as Best Friends Animal Society and Burbank CROP, as well as from the position of pet store owners.

As with any highly charged and emotional issue, there is certainly room for arguments on both sides of the debate.

BurbankNBeyond will look at the following issues leading up to a planned Mid-January council meeting and decision on the issue:

  • The regulatory environment
  • Position of pet store owners
  • Positions of council members
  • Issue of online (Internet) pet sales
  • Position of animal rescue and animal rights groups
  • Public opinion or polls

BurbankNBeyond believes this, like all issues, should be decided on the basis of facts.  We welcome comments and opinions, as well as factual experiences that will help highlight the issue.  Please send any comments, leads, experiences, or recommendations on the issue to savageau@pacific-tier.com.

Links to references related to the debate on Burbank Pet Sales are at:

City Council Meeting Agenda – 16 Oct 2012

City Council Meeting Agenda – 27 Mar 2012

Neustar’s Vision on the Future of Telephony

On October 20th, Bill Reidway, Vice President of Numbering Services Product Management at Neustar  blogged on the topic of number portability, and why it is important to both the telecom industry and end users.  As manager of the National Portability Administration Center (NPAC), Neustar connects more than 2000 carriers in North America, supporting user ability to change carriers without changing their phone number, and seamlessly routing calls between all carriers regardless of the original source of individual or blocks of phone numbers.

Pacific-Tier Communications interviewed Reidway with the intent to learn more about Neustar’s activities with the NPAC, as well as dig a bit deeper into the company’s vision on the future of telephony, telephone numbers, and communications.

Origins of the NPAC

According to Reidway, administration of the NPAC has continued to change since local number portability was mandated as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  Neustar has managed the NPAC program since 1997, with changes along the way including addition of wireless network portability, internodal portability, and most recently in 2007, VoIP carrier portability.

Reidway is convinced telephone numbers and telephone carriers have a good future.  While many talk about the potential of peer-to-peer technologies, such as Skype, as the future of communications, Reidway strongly believes the need for telephone numbers remains unabated.  “Even Skype needs to connect to the PSTN (public switched telephone network) to provide a meaningful user experience” noted Reidway.  “Bypassing the telephone number is still an exception to the rule.”

While emphasizing the existing TDM networks offer a great deal of control, particularly in terms of cutting down unwanted telephony traffic, Reidway cautions the IP telephony world is still a bit like the wild, wild, west, raising challenges in security, load balancing, and network authorization.    “Neustar has to keep up with technology” continued Reidway, explaining the telecom industry has made the decision to support Internet protocols (IP).  He uses the cable industry as an example of carriers running “all” IP telephony networks.

Decline of the Fixed Line Network

It is clear fixed line telephone services in the United States are beginning a rapid decline, with users favoring mobile phones and computer-enabled telephony.  Reidway fully appreciates the dynamics of user migrations and mobility, assuring the NPAC is not constrained by the “vagaries” associated with fixed-line networks and location.  “As the fixed line network begins to fall by the wayside” explained Reidway, “the notion of telephone numbers associated with a specific geography falls with it.”

Reidway also explained that although telephone numbers no longer have rigid location sensitive significance, users still generally prefer to associate their phone numbers with a location, and that is particularly important for business users.   While it is certainly possible for a business or individual to use an area code, or even country code from any point in the world, he believes an area code “still says something about the identity behind the number.”

A Peek into the Future

Neustar currently has no specific plan to change NPAC’s operations, as carriers understand there are still ample supplies of telephone numbers available to support new numbers, possibly for several decades into the future.   With additional opportunities through number pooling (in 2000 the FCC allowed smaller carriers with large amounts of unused telephone numbers to contribute those excess resources to a common number resource pool for distribution to other carriers in need of additional numbers), North America has sufficient numbers to last at least several decades.

When asked of the potential of individuals, businesses, and even objects such as refrigerators all being able to tag an identity to an IPv6 address, with all potential modes of communication ultimately finding a way to that identity, Reidway understands the question.  The issue, and the very long term significance, are a very important discussion, one which Reidway is prepared to engage.

The communications and network-enabled global community are changing quickly to meet the needs of existing and new users.  Infrastructure shortfalls in many locations around the world which have historically throttled citizens from being able to join the the global community are now being reinforced, allowing nearly every point of the world some level of access to the Internet, long before most are able to secure a fixed line telephone.

Impact of Peer-to-Peer

As of September 2011 Skype claims more than 660 million registered users, nearly 1/8th of the world’s population, representing more than 190 billion minutes of non-telephony, unpaid communications, with 13% of those minutes bypassing international carriers.

As the concept of interpersonal communications continues to morph into a form which may not be easily envisioned today, Neustar, with additional services such as domain name and registry services, IP geolocation, and IP translation/mapping services such as ENUM, Reidway maintains confidence Neustar and the NPAC have both flexibility and resources to ensure North American carriers, users, and networks are not caught short in the global move to Internet-enabled multi-media and communication services.

Reidway concluded “we have the experience and capability to help any transition to new technologies and emerging forms of communication.”

You can read all of Reidway’s blogs at Neustar Insights, and comment on his ideas, visions, and support of the North American communications community.


NOTE:  Pacific-Tier Communications LLC is not affiliated with Neustar or the NPAC.  This interview and article are intended to inform readers of the NPAC, and some of the thought leaders responsible for managing and developing infrastructure needed to keep the US and North American competitive in the global market and community.

Taking Aim at the US Broadband Deficit

During his October 6th speech on Universal Service Fund (USF) and InterCarrier Compensation (ICC) reform, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski admitted the United States has not adequately fulfilled our obligation to deliver broadband Internet and communications services to all areas of the country.   Genachowski noted “harm from not having (access to) broadband – the costs of digital exclusion – already high, are growing every day.” He continued “The broadband divide means economic opportunities denied for ordinary consumers who lack broadband access; educational opportunities diminished; health care access reduced; and public safety
compromised.”

The deficiencies in broadband deployment within the United States are well known, and widely discussed on media and blogs.  The Organization of Economic  Co-operation and Development (OECD) dropped the US to 14th place on the global broadband penetration list, with Western European countries and South Korea leading the world in delivering high speed Internet and broadband services to their citizens.

In a global economy moving ahead at Internet speed, can the United States afford to allow ourselves to continue sliding our ability to deliver the basic tool of communications, this “Fourth Utility” of broadband communications to our citizens?  our young people and students?  our businesses and entrepreneurs?

The FCC of course publically claims they have “harnessing the power of broadband Internet to benefit every American” at the core of their mission, however Genachowski also admits there are cities, with the example of Liberty, Nebraska, as examples of small towns which as of summer 2011 still had no access to broadband internet services.

Let’s consider a model that bypasses the political hype of projects such as the FCC’s Connect America Fund, and turn the responsibility back to private companies, entrepreneurs, and other Americans who given the opportunity may be able to use creativity, energy, and a desire to bring the US back in front of the world’s broadband penetration ratings.

Its All About Fiber and Wireless

In a 2010 article on wireless Internet access in Moldova, Pacific-Tier Communications wrote an article describing wireless access in Chisinau.  In that article we reported wireless internet access in Moldova, up to 50Mbps, was available for about $45 USD.  Testing between Chisinau and Burbank (CA) indicated throughput of more than 10Mbps.

Subject: End of the world/Fin del Mundo – Telefonica performs excellently!

Hi guys,

I’m in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. On vacation – not work. Except … I had to work for an hour, or at least have a Skype video call from my iPad yesterday. I was at a hotel with Telefonica Argentina xDSL.

It worked perfectly into northern Europe. No problems! Now the point is not the wonders of Skype; but the quality of the network down here at “Fin del Mundo”. Quite excellent! (Email from Martin Levy, Hurricane Electric)

Subsequent testing from hotels and hotspots within the United States showed a fraction of that performance, putting the US in a category somewhat less than Moldova.  The problem in many cases is the local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) simply cannot provide, or afford the broadband “bandwidth” needed to connect users to other locations throughout the global Internet-connected community, resulting in restricted services for many local users – even in large cities such as Los Angeles.

“Just as there is a need for new roads, sewers and power infrastructure, there is a need for new communications infrastructure” explains Hunter Newby, CEO of Allied Fiber.  “Can anyone imagine driving a 10 year old car, or using a 10 year old cell phone with no ability to upgrade. This is the sad state of our National fiber infrastructure. New investment is critically necessary in order for the USA to be competitive.”

It is, all about, fiber.  While smaller countries like Moldova or South Korea may find construction and delivery of fiber optic and wireless infrastructure manageable, North America is a huge land mass, and interconnecting major population areas requires hundreds, if not thousands of miles of infrastructure to deliver broadband communications services to each population center and rural area.

While wireless technologies such as 4G, LTE, and WiMAX are becoming very effective at delivering broadband to mobile users and even local loops (end users and consumers), the issue is more how to get content and real-time communications interconnecting the wireless towers and local loops located throughout the 50 states.  A tremendous amount of capital is required to “sew” all the end distribution points together, and that thread is fiber.

While Allied Fiber is focusing on building new infrastructure on the long distance routes, other independent and neutral fiber optic infrastructure companies are now scrambling to build “metro” fiber infrastructure needed to deliver high capacity infrastructure to distribution points closer to end users.

“The independents (fiber carriers) are the only way our country will remain competitive, innovative, and offer value” advises Glenn Russo, President of Zayo Networks, an independent provider of fiber optic network services.  “The incumbent ILECs and CLECs cannot offer the agility and innovation required to move ahead.”

Speaking of Zayo’s contribution to the US market, Russo continues “our infrastructure helps promote innovation within a variety of industries and enterprises.   We (Americans) are impatient, we hear of things technologically possible, of things being done in other countries, and we want it (those services) delivered now.  The other companies (ILECs and CLECs) cannot respond to a rapidly developing and changing market.”

John Schmitt, VP of Business development at Fiberlight would agree.  “That’s when the business gets enjoyable, when you are forging ahead and opening new territories” says Schmitt.  “Fiberlight is completely neutral in delivering a high capacity product to (telecom) carriers, networks, and even private enterprise. “

Fiberlight, a metro fiber optic infrastructure provider,  is committed to delivering “super high fiber counts” within their metro networks, providing high capacity fiber to buildings, towers, and carriers.  That infrastructure can serve not only any building within their own metro infrastructure, but also “building up to interconnection points, carrier hotels, data centers, as well as serving the needs of private networks within the metro” informs Schmitt.

“While we are in the metro space, and can deliver to end points within the metro not possible for long distance and backbone companies, we are a good match for companies like Allied Fiber who need to provide their customers access to the local loop, as well as allowing our customers access other markets throughout the US with other metro providers connected to the long haul guys.”

What is Means to Americans and Global Competitiveness

The World Bank has published reports that indicate “Broadband networks can support long-term innovation-led economic growth. Recent research by the World Bank finds that for every 10 percentage-point increase in the penetration of broadband services, developing countries can see an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points.”

There is a clear correlation between giving citizens access to broadband communications and Internet access with economic growth.  The United States, falling further behind the world each year in broadband penetration and access, is not providing sufficient resources to Americans to allow the country to remain competitive in an aggressive global Internet-enabled market.

Russo is optimistic.  “We need to keep a sharp eye on the stimulus networks.  Many of the new networks are middle mile (connecting metro areas), and offer many synergies to our (Zayo’s) business model.  If all the networks proposed are actually built, I have to believe we will catch up to the rest of the world pretty fast.”

And while the Broadband.Gov website (FCC’s official website) has not been updated much in the past year, aside from a few blog entries and event videos, the materials published outlining the US Government’s broadband vision and plan are sound.

A Call to Broadband Action

For Americans the main task is to ensure broadband infrastructure is built.  No more excuses from ILEC/CLECs finding excuses to throttle down broadband, rather than enable hyper-growth of broadband.  No more franchises given to telecom providers who lacking competition have little or no incentive to rapidly expand broadband access throughout the country.

High capacity fiber backbones and metro networks, high capacity tower and wireless infrastructure, regulation to support construction, rather than over regulate or establish restrictive licensing requirements.

It does not make any difference if the network will deliver social media, movies, voice, video, support for enterprise information and communications technology, education, intelligent grids, research, or processing “Seti at Home” processing packets.  The fourth utility is essential to our economic survival and national security.

Companies such as Allied Fiber, Zayo, Fiberlight, and dozens of other startup and independent telecom providers must be given our support as a nation and government to build and deliver the tools needed for current and future generations of Americans to retain and extend our leadership in the global network-connected community.

Hunter Newby on Communications in America – Are We Competitive?

This is Part 1 in a series highlighting Hunter Newby’s thoughts and visions of communications in America.  Part 1 will highlight Newby’s impressions of America’s competitiveness in the global telecom-enabled community.  Additional articles will touch on net neutrality, the “ying and yang” of the telecom industry, as well as  the dilemma of supporting telecom “end points.”

HunterNewbyMembers and guests of the Internet Society gathered at Sentry Center in New York on 14 June for the regional INET Conference.  The topic, “It’s your call, What kind of Internet do you want?” attracted Internet legends including Vint Cerf and Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee, as well as a number of distinguished speakers and panelists representing a wide range of industry sectors.

Hunter Newby, Founder and CEO of Allied Fiber, joined the panel “Pushing Technology Boundaries” to discuss the future of Internet-enabled innovation.  The panel had robust discussions on many topics including net neutrality, infrastructure, telecom law, regulation, and the role of service providers.

Pacific-Tier Communications caught up with Newby on 22 June to learn more about his views on communications in America.

Are We Competitive?

Newby believes America lags behind other nations in developing the infrastructure needed to compete in a rapidly developing global community.  Much of the shortfall is related to physical telecommunications infrastructure needed to connect networks, people, content, and machines at the same level as other countries in Asia and Europe.

“The US lacks an appreciation for the need to understand physical (telecom) infrastructure” said Newby.  He went on to describe the lack of standard terms in the US, such as “Broadband Communications.” Newby continued “In some locations, such as North Carolina, broadband communications are considered anything over 128Kbps (Kilobits per second).”

Newby note there is considerable disinformation in the media related to the US communications infrastructure.  Although the US does have a national broadband plan, in reality the infrastructure is being built by companies with a priority to meet the needs of shareholders. Those priorities do not necessarily reflect the overall needs the American people.

While some companies have made great progress bringing high performance telecom and Internet access to individual cities and towns, Newby is quick to remind us that “we cannot solve telecom problems in a single  city or location, and (use that success) to declare victory as a country.”  Without having a national high performance broadband and network infrastructure, the US will find it difficult to continue attracting the best talent to our research labs and companies, eroding our competitiveness not only in communications, but also as a country and economy.

Newby returns to a recurring theme in his discussions on communications.  There are no connectivity “clouds” as commonly shown in presentations and documents related to the space between end points in the Internet (an end point being users, servers, applications, etc.).  The connectivity between end points happens on physical “patch panels,” telecom switches, and routers.  This happens in the street, at the data center, carrier hotel, central office, or exchange point.

Bringing it All Down to Layer 1 – Optical Fiber

Newby believes the basis of all discussions related to communications infrastructure starts at the right of way.  When access to a ground or aerial right of way (or easement) is secured, then install fiber optic cable.  Lots of fiber optic cable.  Long haul fiber, metro fiber, and transoceanic submarine fiber.  Fiber optic cable allows tremendous amounts of information to travel from end points to other end points, whether in a local area, or across wide geographies.

Long distance and submarine fiber optic cable are essential in providing the infrastructure needed to move massive amounts of information and data throughout the US and the world.  While there is still a large amount of communications provided via satellite and microwave, only fiber optic cable has the resources and capacity needed to move data supporting communications within the network or Internet-enabled community.

Newby makes a point that in the US, very few companies operate long haul fiber networks, and those companies control access to their communications infrastructure with tariffs based on location, distance, traffic volumes (bandwidth/ports), and types of traffic.  Much of the existing fiber optic infrastructure crossing the US is old, and cannot support emerging communication transmission rates and technologies, limiting choices and competitiveness to a handful of companies – none of which provide fiber as a utility or as a neutral tariffed product.

As the cost of long distance or long haul fiber is extremely high, most carriers do not want to carry the expense of building their own new fiber optic infrastructure, and prefer to lease capacity from other carriers.  However, the carriers owning long haul fiber do not want to lease or sell their capacity to potentially competitive communications carriers.

Most US communications carriers operating their own long haul fiber optic networks also provide additional value-added services to their markets.  This might include voice services, cable or IP television, virtual private networks, and Internet access.  Thus the carrier is reluctant to lease their capacity to other competitive or virtual carriers who may compete with them in individual or global  markets.

Thus a dilemma – how do we build the American fiber backbone infrastructure to a level needed to provide a competitive, high capacity national infrastructure without aggressive investment in new fiber routes?

Newby has responded to the dilemma and challenge with his company Allied Fiber, and advises “the only way to properly build the physical infrastructure required to support all of this (infrastructure need) is to have a unique model at the fiber layer similar to what Allied (Allied Fiber) has, but not solely look at fiber as the only source of revenue.”

For example, Newby advises revenue can be supplemented by offering interconnecting carriers and other network or content providers space in facilities adjacent to the backbone fiber traditionally used for only in-line-amplifiers (ILAs) and fiber optic signal regeneration.  The ILA facility itself “could be an additional source of recurring revenue,” while allowing the fiber provider to remain a neutral utility.

Or in short, Newby explains “we need to put a 60 Hudson or One Wilshire every 60 miles” to allow unrestricted interconnection between carriers, networks, and content providers at a location closest to the infrastructure supporting end points.

The Backbone

America can compete, and break the long distance dilemma.  Newby is certain this is possible, and has a plan to bring the US infrastructure up to his highest standards.  The idea is really pretty simple.

  1. Build a high capacity fiber optic backbone passing through all major markets within the US.
  2. Connect the backbone to local metro fiber networks (reference the Dark Fiber Community)
  3. Connect the backbone to wireless networks and towers (and provide the access location)
  4. Connect the backbone to all major physical interconnection points, carrier hotels, and Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
  5. Make access to the backbone available to all as a neutral, infrastructure utility

Newby strongly advises “If you do not understand the root of the issue, you are not solving the real problems.”

And the root of the issue is to ensure everybody in America has unrestricted access to unrestricted communications resources.


Hunter Newby, a 15-year veteran of the telecom networking industry, is the Founder and CEO of Allied Fiber.

Read other articles in this series, including:

A Look Into Moldova’s ICT Spirit with Grigore Raileanu

Moldova has a lot of entrepreneurs.  As you walk along the streets in Chisinau, the capital city, you constantly pass signs advertising software development companies, data centers, and computer sales.  As citizens of a “developing” country, young people know they need to work smarter, harder, and more creatively to compete with not only each other, but also others countries in Europe and the world.

Grigore Raileanu is one of those aggressive young people.  And an entrepreneur with a successful company named Remsys.  In fact, you may not even know Remsys is a Moldovan company, possibly believing it is based in the US!

Grigore met with us on 4 Feb 2011 to talk about ICT, innovation, and Moldova.  You can listen to the audio file HERE

John Savageau: Today with have with us, Mr. Gigore Raileanu, who does business development with a Moldovan company called Remsys.  Good afternoon Grigore!

RaileanuGrigore Raileanu: Good afternoon John and everyone!

John Savageau: So, please start us off and give us a little background on yourself, and give us a little background on Remsys.

RaileanuGrigore Raileanu: I’m actually doing business development for my first company Remsys.  This company has successfully grown to thousands of systems, managed systems, and heterogeneous infrastructure.  We are positioning ourselves as a managed solutions provider for small and medium businesses.

We are also doing 24 hours (a day) custom technical solutions for our clients, and we are designing and managing complex infrastructures, networks, fighting SPAM, and building clouds.

John Savageau: That’s exciting.  I believe that Remsys has roots based in web hosting and managed services, are you expanding on the initial concept of the company?

Grigore Raileanu: At first our customers were mainly hosting companies, but as I said we have repositioned as a managed solutions provider for small and medium business.  So it’s not only hosting and the like, but our customers quite big, and we even have video-on-demand providers and medical companies.  So it’s not only hosting.

John Savageau: And you are not just limited to Moldovan companies, you also go outside of Moldova?

Grigore Raileanu: Well our companies (clients) are mostly out of Moldova.  A lot of the Moldovan companies we are working for, are actually subsidiaries of foreign companies.

John Savageau: So let’s move on and talk a little about Moldovan ICT.  We’re curious, (you) being an entrepreneur and running your companies.  How do you feel about the ability of Moldovan companies, not only to compete in Moldova against foreign companies, but also within global markets?

Grigore Raileanu: In my opinion Moldovan companies are highly competitive.  Firstly because of costs.  Our teams are delivering full project lifecycle from development and testing, to technical support, and hosting.

ICT companies in Moldova are mostly oriented to business process outsourcing, like software development, testing, or eCommerce.

Many private companies are opening and operating their offices here in Moldova.  This way our companies can be considered as competing on the global market.

John Savageau: Do you have any significant strategies, or ideas you use to make your company – or other Moldovan companies competitive in a global market?

Grigore Raileanu: Actually we are working to improve our technical team skills, our procedures, training, participate in different expositions in order to get more skilled people.

John Savageau: Do you believe the academic community, or education system,… are they preparing workers well enough to compete in the workforce, or to meet your needs with technical or management-level talent?

Grigore Raileanu: I think that our academic community can do it better.  Actually, the universities are not able to satisfy the demand.  Most importantly the quality of studies has to be improved a lot.

Companies spend a lot of resources and money in order to educate and graduate students, as the university’s programs are outdated and need to be revised.

John Savageau: And how about the teachers and instructors,… are they prepared to teach students what they need, or do the instructors also need to increase their capacity?

Grigore Raileanu: Yes, as far as I know, our teachers are also working in ICT companies, so mostly they are involved in the continual process of education.

John Savageau: As far as the students, do the students also have an opportunity to have internships or participation with priovate companies while they are in university?

Grigore Raileanu: Yes, even the ICT Association has such programs, and are running internships, and Moldovan students are participating and gaining knowledge – they are even getting to know the companies they may work with in the future.

John Savageau: Outside of Chisinau, Chisinau being the largest city, with obviously the most resources available – how about the countryside – what is the future of children in the countryside for participating in ICT?

Grigore Raileanu: I think we need to consider that people should not orient towards Chisinau only.  We have a lot of great place like Balti, Cahul, Tiraspol, and we must build our IT development centers there as well.

John Savageau: Is there a  partnership opportunity between private companies and the academic community, or private companies and the government for that matter?

Grigore Raileanu: Actually, yes.  Our association of private IT companies is doing that.  They are doing a lot to improve the situation, and also to change the educational programs and curriculum for our universities.  Also, work with the government to get better conditions for taxes.

Up until this year there was no tax for programmer’s or software engineer’s income.

John Savageau: Let me move on to a different topic, that is cloud computing.  This is a big buzzword.  Everybody around the world talks about cloud computing.  Is cloud computing important to your company, or to Moldova?

Grigore Raileanu: I think yes.  Actually, like you said, cloud is a buzzword, every speaks about cloud, but people understand different things about this.

In my opinion, the cloud is infrastructure able to scale on demand, it is highly secure, and able to decrease IT costs.  Cloud computing will have a significant impact on Moldova, but there is still no market for this in my opinion.

We have to create, and stimulate this market somehow.

I’ve also heard that our government is going to launch, or already launched, a Moldavian cloud project.  It is looking to improve the government, and its subsidiary state corporations by owning the highest available and scalable IT infrastructure.

John Savageau: How about Software as a Service (SaaS).  There are a lot of software companies, specifically in Chisinau.  Do Moldovan companies have an opportunity to develop SaaS applications on a global scale?

Grigore Raileanu: Well, yes, and we are already doing it.  But it is not for internal use, I mean it is not for the Moldavian market.

John Savageau: Is that still an opportunity to learn those skills and be prepared once cloud computing is a factor in Moldova?

Grigore Raileanu: I thin kwe have many things to learn, and improve, in order to create and launch this market.  But yes, there is a place for this market here in Moldova.

John Savageau: How do you believe that Moldovan companies should approach the global market?  Again, we know there is business inside Moldova, but there is also a very large world outside of Moldova – how do you approach that global market?

Grigore Raileanu: Moldova has a lot of companies that are subsidiaries and offices of global companies.  Moldova has to deliver something better in order to compete with countries like India, the Philippines, and so on.  So I think that we will lead by our cultural approach, we are more closed to the occident compared to the Indians or Philippines.

John Savageau: For people who are adults, or have not grown up in the Internet age from childhood accessing Facebook, Skype, and things like that where it is normal, how does the 25~40 age group – how do you think they are going to globalization of communications, and societies and things – are they ready for it?

Grigore Raileanu: Yeah, I am sure they are, it’s not really hard.  From my experience I have talked with people who have never seen a computer.  And if that person is young, has elementary skills, they can work it out and improve their skills.

John Savageau: What so you see as a future for Moldova?  I mean if you have a white board, and you have any idea that you want to put on the white board, what should Moldova do to make itself more competitive, and become a factor in the global economy or in the global marketplace?

Grigore Raileanu: I think Moldova has to orient on mobile services, startups, and even why not build centers for startups to meet investors, governments, and work together to launch some new companies with new ideas.

Maybe the next Facebook will be launched right here in Moldova!

John Savageau: If the Moldova cloud, the government cloud, actually moves forward as aggressively as it does (is planned), that might be one of the first successful cloud projects in the world (government clouds), which means that Moldovan companies that participate would be able to replicate that process in other developing countries in Africa, eastern Europe, Asia,..

How do you feel about that?  Are you ready to go there?

Grigore Raileanu: Of course, being a patriot, I would be very happy because my country is one of the first countries able to launch this project and to give a good example for different countries.

John Savageau: Any other ideas you would like to pass on to the global ICT community, about Moldova, your company, yourself?

Grigore Raileanu: Well my company, we are starting some nation-wide programs, and we are very present on the Moldavian market, and maybe we will have some meetings this year, and bring our services into the (global) market, and if there is no demand for some kinds services we will try to create it, so everyone can benefit.

John Savageau: Thank you very much for taking the time this afternoon.  I wish you and Remsys, and Moldova the best of luck.

A Look into Moldova’s ICT Community with Ana Chirita

We first met Ana Chirita while surveying ICT companies in Moldova for a national cloud computing project.  As Executive Director of the Moldovan Association of Private ICT Companies, Ana provided introductions to local companies, industry background, and aggressive follow-on support to our project.  As an advocate and evangelist for her community, Ana plays an important role in developing Moldova’s ICT industry.  You can listen to the entire interview on audio here.

John Savageau: This morning we have Ms. Ana Chirita who is the Executive Director of the Moldovan Association of Private ICT (information and communications technology) Companies. Good morning Ana!

What I’d like to do is just have you start out and describe the purpose and the role of the Moldovan Association of Private ICT Companies. What is it?

Ana Chirita: It is an association formed of 29 companies, and we are comfortably growing. The main reason to have this group of companies come together is in a way, to have a common vision of how the ICT sector should be developed. And, in a way achieve the main goal up front, which is growing the ICT sector and having it be the main driver for the whole economy of the country.

So basically what we do is represent our company’s interests through constructive dialog. With government we also do promotion of our companies. We try to reach certain levels of education and HR development that can help our companies grow. Because, one of the key issues they have put in their strategy is to help out the industry through investments in education and having good specialists that can work for them (the member companies).

We also focus on opening markets, market development – both locally and internationally. So we do a whole range of activities that help our companies get more visible, grow their revenues, and become viable partners.

John Savageau: And how did you find your way into the association?

Ana Chirita: it was very interesting in a way… I received an email from the current deputy minister (Dona Scola, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Information, Technology, and Communications). By then, Dona was working at Chemonics on a project. That was about a year and a half ago.

I just received an email, “would you like to apply for a job?” “Please send me your CV.”

I did not know Dona by then, so I did not know what the job was for, what it was about, what should be done, what I was supposed to do, … So I just send my CV in and said “OK.” The I called for an interview, not even know for what kind of a job! That was quite fun.

I entered the room and there were six men, the current board of directors of the association, and Dona helping out the board.

Then they started asking a lot of questions. I was like, “what?…” The interview took about one hour, I’d say, or an hour and a half. In three, four languages or so. Everybody talking their own language – Romanian, French, English… Then I got out of there and said “oh my gosh… what was that? I didn’t know what I was coming for… I didn’t know what I was supposed to do – just so many questions. ”

In two hours I received a call, “we want to hire you.” So basically that’s how it started. I had my first meeting, we signed a contract, and that was my way into the ICT Association.

John Savageau: It seems like you’ve done pretty good getting 29 companies into the association. Do you have any examples of specific benefits the ICT community members have gained from participating in the association?

Ana Chirita: Yes, I’d say the first thing is they get exposure with, and get dialog with the government. Which means they will know everything that is going around that is in the ICT sector, and what the government wants to do. That is strategy, it means different laws, it means different aspects of that kind of which they can benefit from.

For example, let’s say the fiscal policy. The government was changing the fiscal policy last year, and they got an intervention. Like author rights. The government was changing the law on author rights – we got an intervention.

So basically it is exposure, information, and being able to contribute, to a certain extent, for the benefit of the companies.

Other things that I would like to mention are they (members) get various possibilities to work in a consolidated model. For example if we have campaigns with the universities, or training, or seminars, they get to work as a group, which means lowering their internal resources (costs), because when you do something alone it is one amount, when you do things in a group it is a completely different amount. Basically it is lowering the expenses.

The other thing is that all the training and certifications they get, they get with discounts through the association, which is up to 50% discount. For example, CMMI, for certifications and training in project management, human resource development – whatever it is they always get it for a discount.

All the initiatives on expert promotions. Many companies participate either for free or at reduced costs. (including) various events and business missions, which is considerable for those who are considering export.

Other things, what we are launching now and what we are trying to kind of change within the association is to create new services as a cluster approach that the companies can benefit from, the companies that are in the association can participate, and at the same time benefit.

There are several projects in the concept phase, which in mid-March may be launched or find partners, and be able to get on the market.

So even if we are not able to act as a service provider, we will try to foster that, anyway. So besides lobby, discount – we started the discount program again now. Like 29 companies, that’s about 2000 employees, maybe more. And they can get better prices, lowering their budgets (OPEX/CAPEX) and internal costs by participating in a group.

That makes it reasonable why to pay membership fees (to the association), if they pay, because in a way (paying the fees) it helps in reducing your budget, and makes it less expensive (to operate).

But the main thing of course, lobby and dialog with the government, which can enable the business environment for them to make business or do business easier.

John Savageau: Do you have any major success stories from association members?

Ana Chirita: Depends on which side…

If we talk about the certification side we have six companies certified in IT Mark, basic IT Mark, going for CMMI Level 2.

If we talk about exports we have companies that through the activities we do have gained contracts. If we talk about lobbying we are present in at least five or six working groups in various ministries and agencies and we have been able to get into the position where our opinion is being taken into consideration.

For example with the fiscal policy, or with the author rights. So, we’re working on that now as well. And we hope that within 2011 we’ll achieve those results that we’ve worked for and made studies for.

So basically there are achievements that can be taken into consideration. If you like I can send the report of 2010.

John Savageau: Another question,… With Moldovan ICT companies is how competitive they are within Moldova. What is going to make Moldovan ICT companies more competitive in the global marketplace?

Ana Chirita: Better exposure. (Using) International standards, and because competitiveness is about the human resources, it is about the processes you have inside, it is about the things you follow, and how you follow, maybe a country positioning paper to understand where we’re heading to will help them do better.

But now I think that through those processes they are improving inside, like for some of the companies pursuing certain standards, they are already able to compete. Because many of them do export and compete in international markets.

John Savageau: Is there a role the Moldova government should play in making companies more competitive or to give them greater exposure to the international marketplace?

Ana Chirita: Definitely. I think the government should, first of all the government should identify its priorities in this area, and it will be able to enable. Because without the support of the government it’s like a “one man show.”

Many of the companies have developed themselves (independently) in a way without having certain benefits up to let’s say 2005, 2006 from the government.

The government should play a big role, such as to enable better education , better access to the markets, better positioning, better exposure.

The government is very important to have as a partner.

John Savageau: On import tariffs for things like ICT equipment, is the government supporting the ICT community with tax holidays or anything like that on (equipment) imports?

Ana Chirita: We are trying to work on that now., That’s one of the results we want to achieve, like we want to get a preferential rate on the import of equipment, on ICT goods.

And there is one thing we have in Moldova that we have never promoted in a way, is we have a fiscal facility for software development companies, from 2005. Which is an exemption from income tax. And it depends, up to 18% on physical persons – programmers mainly. And we want to keep that. It gives them a competitive advantage on the regional market for Moldova.

Otherwise we get to the same level as Romania, Bulgaria, and other countries in the region.

So for us it is important to keep these kinds of things (tax breaks), like a preferential regime for ICT, would be able to enable and help out (our competitiveness).

John Savageau: How about the education community in Moldova? Is the academic community adequately preparing graduates to enter the workforce or participate in ICT?

Ana Chirita: According to our studies, and the studies that certain USAID projects have delivered, for example the “Competitiveness Project,” the quantity (of graduates) that Moldova delivers is quite good – by numbers is enough. But the quality (of graduates) is still lagging behind in a way.

So there is a big need for investing in, and promoting, certain technical and soft skills. Because the company has to invest up to 3, 4 times more than the universities or the government gives to the students.

So in a way certain initiatives have taken place contributing vendor-based curricula, or in schools and universities they are trying to update the curricula, or there are private companies that actually hold classes within the universities. Like software engineering classes or quality assurance or something like that as optional or mandatory courses.

But that is a big effort, and that is not enough. There is a need to do more.

John Savageau: That’s an interesting statement you made, do you believe there is a space for private companies and the academic community to work as partners in developing a better ICT capacity?

Ana Chirita: We, as the ICT association are trying to do that in a way, but yes I think there is enough space to have more companies, with educational companies or other types of companies – or even ICT companies trying to work back-to-back with academia in order to reach the (required) level.

Because it’s not only the university level, it’s about the (primary) school level. Because a career in IT is not pursued as a nice thing. The people are not aware that a career in IT has a future. So actually you do not have to go out of the country, or emigrate. You can stay in the country, and have a decent salary.

John Savageau: I agree. And when you compare, perhaps people who are living in the countryside in Moldova, with students who are in Chisinau, or even comparing them to London or Los Angeles,… The ability of children who are growing up in the Internet age possibly could be different based on how much exposure they have to ICT tools that are available at a very young age.

Do you believe there is a risk in Moldova of not being able to compete in the digital community if children today are not rapidly given exposure to that type of environment?

Ana Chirita: it depends. Maybe yes, maybe no. it depends on what is our strategy.

I think we need to invest, and need to encourage getting children more and more involved in technical things and Internet. And being able to know how to use it wisely, and being to have various programs and different types of teaching – not only the traditional one (teaching method) to acquire the skills which are already not (just) a luxury, but a “must have” in the future.

So it’s knowing the basic things, like working with a computer is not a luxury like it would have been 10 years ago.

John Savageau: It’s part of life now.

Any last words you would like to give us on either the association, ICT in Moldova, or any other topics that are of interest to the community?

Ana Chirita: Let me think! You’ve been asking a lot of questions!

Basically I think that we, and I, am very thankful for what is happening now in Moldova. I think with common efforts we can reach better exposure, a more competitive country, and more competitive industry.

As an association we will work and hope the government will be more supportive. We’ll see that steps are undertaken in that sense.

So, that’s it!

John Savageau: That’s a very positive outlook, and we all certainly look forward to seeing how it is going to develop in the future. Thank you very much for taking the time this morning.


MICTMission, Vision, Goals

Mission:  Moldovan Association of Private ICT Companies promotes the development of the ICT sector in the Republic of Moldova through viable partnerships between the private companies, similar organizations, state institutions, international organizations in order to enhance the competitiveness and development of the sector and company capacities, enlarge the market, attract investments in the country and participate in the decision making and regulatory process on the national and international level.

Vision: The ICT sector will become an enabler of the Moldovan economy, and Moldovan Association of Private ICT Companies( further ATIC) will contribute to this process through its consultancy means in creating a better life and a better environment in terms of business and social needs. ATIC will get involved into the spheres of education, export, capacity building, competitiveness enhancement to have ICT lead the industry and become a part of any system and process to ensure its development.

Objectives:

  1. To raise the Moldovan ICT industry’s profile and image within the country and on International markets.
  2. To raise the level of co-operation and collaboration amongst members of the Moldovan ICT business community.
  3. To work with Government to improve the business context, legal framework and overall prospects for the sector.
  4. To collaborate with Moldovan Educational institutions to improve over time the quality and quantity of ICT trained graduates.
  5. To help improved levels of professional & management skills within ICT companies.
  6. To improve all aspects of investment opportunities for ICT enterprises in Moldova.

Kundra Scores Again with 25 Point Federal IT Implementation Plan

On December 9th Vivek Kundra, the U.S.Chief Information Officer (USCIO), released a “25 Point Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management.” Kundra acknowledges the cost of IT systems to the American people (~~$600billion during the past decade), and the reality that even with this investment the federal government lags behind private industry in both functionality and governance.

Kundra 25 Point PlanHighlights of the plan include a push towards data center consolidation, a “cloud first” policy for new IT projects (as well as IT refresh),a search and destroy mission looking for deadbeat and under-performing projects, as well as using professional program managers and acquisition specialists to streamline the purchase and implementation of IT systems. 

Sounds Good, But is it Real?

It is very possible the document was impressive and quite encouraging due to the talents of writers assigned to spin Kundra’s message. On the other hand, it all makes a lot of, well, plain good sense.

For example, on the topic of public private partnerships, and engaging industry early in the planning process.

Given the pace of technology change, the lag between when the government defines its requirements and when the contractor begins to deliver is enough time for the technology to fundamentally change, which means that the program may be outdated on the day it starts …

…In addition, requirements are often developed without adequate input from industry, and without enough communication between an agency’s IT staff and the program employees who will actually be using the hardware and software…

…As a result, requirements are too often unrealistic (as to performance, schedule, and cost estimates), or the requirements that the IT professionals develop may not provide what the program staff expect – or both.

This makes a lot of sense.  Face it, the government does not develop innovation or technology, private industry develops innovation.  And government, as the world’s largest IT users, consumes that technology.

And since the government is often so large, it is near impossible to for the government to collect and disseminate best practices and operational “lessons learned” at the same pace possible within private industry.  In private industry aggressive governance and cooperation with vendors are essential to survival and ultimate success as a company.

On Innovation

Small businesses in the technology space drive enormous innovation throughout the economy . However, the Federal Government does not fully tap into the new ideas created by small businesses…

…smaller firms are more likely to produce the most disruptive and creative innovations. In addition, with closer ties to cutting edge, ground-breaking research, smaller firms often have the best answers for the Federal Government

Kundra goes on to acknowledge the fact small companies are where innovation happens within any industry or market.  While Cisco, Microsoft, Google, and others such as Computer Associates have a wide range of innovative products and solutions, a large percentage of those ideas are from acquisitions absorbed in an effort to reinforce the large company’s market strategy.

Small, innovative companies produce disruptive ideas and technologies, and the federal government should not be prevented from exposure and potential purchase of products being developed outside of the Fortune 500.  Makes sense for the government, makes sense for the small business community.

Technology Fellows

Within 12 months, the office of the Federal CIO will create a technology fellows program and the accompanying recruiting infrastructure. By partnering directly with universities with well-recognized technology programs, the Federal Government will tap into the emerging talent pool and begin to build a sustainable pipeline of talent.

While projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Defense Advanced Project Research Agency (DARPA) have been around for a while, this is still a very refreshing attitude towards motivating both students and those who lead our students.

The American technology industry, while still the best in the world, works kind of like Cisco or Google. With a few exceptions, the skills and talent those companies need to maintain the competitive dominance in their market must be imported from other countries.  if you do not believe this, take a drive through Palo Alto, Milpitas, or stop for lunch on Tasman Drive in Santa Clara.  English is not always the dominant language.

However, that does not need to be the case, nor does the US tech brain pool need to revolve around Silicon Valley.  if the US Government and Kundra are true to this idea, then partnering with all levels of education throughout the United States to develop either high level technologies, or even small components of those technologies can only serve to increase the intellectual and subsequent technology capacity of our country.

People and companies rarely lose motivation when faced with attainable challenges or success – by nature they will gain additional and higher thresholds for additional successes. 

Cloud Computing is the Next Cyclone of Technology

Cloud Innovation as a CycloneOverall, everything in the 25 point plan eventually points back to cloud computing.  Like a low pressure system sucking in hot air and developing circulation, the CIO’s cloud computing strategy will continue to attract additional ideas and success for making Information and Communications Technology (ICT) efficient, and an enabling tool for our future growth.

Cloud Computing, within the context of the 25 point plan, enables data center consolidation, software innovation, public private partnerships, efficiency, transparency, “green” everything,

We need to replace these “stovepiped” efforts, which too often push in inconsistent directions, with an approach that brings together the stakeholders and integrates their efforts…

The cloud computing cyclone will not stop with the federal government.  Once the low begins to strengthen and develop circulation, it will continue sucking state government initiatives, local governments, the academic community, and industry into the “eye.” 

The financial benefits of converting wasted operational and capital budgets currently spent on building and maintaining inefficient systems into innovation and product development, or better program management for government and educational programs are essential in promoting economic growth, not to mention reducing a nightmare national deficit.

Hopping on the “Kundra Vision” Bandwagon

As Americans we need to expose ourselves to Kundra’s programs and strategy.  No strategy is perfect, and can benefit from the synergies of a country with 300 million citizens who have ideas, visions, and strong desires to contribute to a better America.  We need to push our ideas to both local and federal thought leaders, including the US CIO’s office.  Push through your representatives, through blogs, through your technology vendors.

If Kundra is good for his word, and this is the new vision for an American ICT-enabled future, your efforts will not be wasted.

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