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.

The Estonian Cyber National Guard

During his opening keynote speech at ICEGOV 2011 in Tallinn, Estonia, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves highlighted efforts of the Estonia’s Cyber Defense League, an operational arm of the country’s National Defense League.

An all volunteer force, the Cyber Defense League acts as a national guard to protect Estonia from cyber attack, following the major assault on country in 2007 by Russian hackers.

“Our country encourages IT professionals to contribute to national defense as part-time members of our cyber national guard,” said Ilves, these are young people “who are motivated, patriotic, and think it (contributing to national defense) is pretty cool.”

Traditional Barriers to National Service Removed

Recruits entering their country’s national service, such as the army, normally follow a similar track.  The first year of service provides an exercise in mental torture, mental strengthening, physical training, gathering skills to function in the infantry, and all the other training needed to bring a civilian into a basic level of competence for military service.

This standard routine serves to exclude individuals who may be far more interested in technology, academic pursuits, sciences, and to be honest, becoming serious network or software geeks.  While there may be an argument that military organizations have become much better in their cyber-warfare capabilities, it can also be argued many of the best minds in a country are those developing technology systems, rather than super users.

Estonia, home of Skype and other global software initiatives, is harnessing the power of their intellectual resources in a positive way, which also promotes national security, pride, and patriotism.

Cyber Weekend Warriors

The Cyber Defense League (CDL) is a uniformed service, equal in stature and responsibility to other arms of the National Defense League.  Recruits require security clearances, and are available for mobilization in the event of a national emergency – regardless of the nature of that emergency.

CDL members muster for weekend duty, exercises, and additional cyber security and warfare training.

Cooperation between private industry and national defense is much closer than in countries such as the US, where even during national emergencies commercial companies are rarely engaged in immediate cyber attack and response – at least not in full cooperation with the government or military.  There may be representation in groups such as the CERT, however even those organizations generally act outside the scope of national defense.

In Estonia, now commercial companies and many of their employees are an inherent component of the national cyber defense.

… Be Cyber Strong

So, if we consider a model of supplementing national security by recruiting engineers, developers, and technicians in a single model location such as the Silicon Valley, train them to extend their skills to support national defense, complete a background check and offer a security clearance, what would the potential impact be on reinforcing our California or national Cyber Protection capacity?

Add more highly skilled engineers from other technology “industry cluster” states to the defense system, and it is highly probable that we will make great strides in further strengthening our local and national cyber defense.

Of course in the United States we do have to get over some additional concerns, such as suspicion among many in Internet and technology communities who may not fully trust the intentions of the government.

The burden is on the government to establish programs, develop a thought leadership campaign to build a sense of service and pride, and then fully embrace extremely motivated and intelligent IT professionals into the military community.

One of those programs is the DOD’s Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, which allows the DoD to share some information with private enterprise regarding threats to security. However it is clearly a superficial attempt, and does not seek to actively engage those who potentially have the best skills to offer.

Estonia is a small country, struggling to break free of the social and institutional constraints imposed by nearly 70 years of Soviet and Nazi occupation, and economic restrains of a global recession.  A country with a motivated workforce, and a need to protect all their national wired resource from theft, exploitation, and attack.

The Cyber Defense League is a very unique, and creative step to provide that security and protection.

Hunter Newby on Communications in America – Net Neutrality

This is Part 3 in a series of interviews with Hunter Newby, Founder and CEO of Allied Fiber

Hunter Newby, Founder and CEO of Allied Fiber believes most people do not fully understand the meaning of “Net Neutrality.”  There is a perception that “Net Neutrality is about the Internet,” says Newby.  “It is not, it is about physical access to the Internet.”

HunterNewbyAnd this is a combination of controlling the end points (users, computers, and applications), controlling what data or content the end points can access, and what other distant end point destinations are available.  Internet gatekeepers, including Internet Service Providers, telecom carriers, and governments, control “who can connect, what they can connect to, and how they connect” claims Newby.

“They are (the gatekeepers) going to have the ability to determine what we can or cannot see” Newby adds, “and that is what scares me the most.”

Newby is quick to point out the government states they will protect the rights of people to connect to “legal” content.  But who makes the decision what legal content is?  He uses the example of WikiLeaks.  While some may find the information scary, embarrassing, inappropriate, or unethical, the question is whether or not the data contained within a WikiLeaks website should be blocked from end points (users), and who is in a position to make that content-access decision?

If the gatekeeper is given that authority, and there no other access options available to end points, then the concept of Net Neutrality becomes a tool for the gatekeepers to control access to global Internet-enabled information resources.

For Newby, that presents a challenge and opportunity

The Neutral Connectivity Buss

Newby is an American, a patriot, and wants to ensure America’s economy and society remains strong, and stays in a global leadership role.  However he still acknowledges America has shortfalls in delivering broadband to all end points within the country.  His own company, Allied Fiber, “is created to address America’s need for more broadband access, wireless backhaul, data center distribution and lower latency communications services.”

And here is the problem.  Long haul fiber optic cables represent the physical means of not only connecting cities and regions to the global Internet (as one network among many levels of communications and connectivity), but also provide a means for end points to connect with other end points around the world.  In the United States nearly all telecom carriers operating long haul or long distance fiber also directly support end points.

This means that each long haul fiber operator has a direct interest in containing as many end points within their network as possible.  This includes moving up the OSI Stack to provide end points with additional value-added services to end points, in addition to physical access.  The carrier then may include everything from applications to content distribution within their own suite of services, either limiting access to competitive sources of similar services – or Newby points out in a worst case outright blocking those services making end points “hostages behind the gatekeeper.”  telecom-tower-at-sunrise

Newby promotes the concept of building neutral connectivity busses on the long haul networks, connecting competitive regional, metro, and local networks to the buss without concern of needing a traditional long haul carrier to provide that service – a carrier which may wish to restrict the local companies to those services or content available through the carrier’s own content or value-added services.

The closer a neutral long haul connectivity buss can get to local access providers, the easier it will become for new access providers to emerge, as they will have more options for global interconnection, free from the legacy of a single long haul provider with a monopoly on access and transit connectivity.

Newby’s idea of a neutral connectivity buss is not limited to copper or fiber to the end point.  In rural areas it is clear wireless technologies may provide better and faster connectivity options than physical cable.  Thus, in Allied’s case, Newby promotes the idea of building neutral towers at each in-line amplifier or signal regeneration site.

“We can promote this due to our multi-duct design by using the short haul duct/cable for splicing in towers, etc. It is not limited to just the amp sites” continues Newby.

This would further allow multiple wireless providers to emerge, serve, and compete in areas where only large carriers had the means to operate in the past.

Interconnection, Bypass, and Competition

Carrying a pedigree which includes the legacy of building one of the world’s largest carrier interconnection facilities (60 Hudson’s Telx Meet-Me-Room), Newby is one of the few people around the industry with a core understanding of carrier bypass and interconnections.  The “carrier hotel” industry was born to address the need of competitive communications companies to bypass traditional incumbent, or monopoly carriers to directly interconnect without the burden of buying transit connections.

In the United States, this may have been a requirement (in the old days) for Sprint to connect with MCI, without requiring a transit connection through AT&T to make the link.  As we added international carriers, such as British Telecom or France Telecom, and they were given the opportunity to own end-to-end circuit capacity on submarine fiber cables or satellites, they were also given the ability to directly connect with Sprint, MCI, or other emerging carriers at a neutral carrier hotel without the need for transit connections.

The concept of neutral Internet Exchange Points, Carrier Ethernet Exchanges, and neutral tandem telephony switches are all a continuation of the need for bypassing individual or monopoly carriers.

Newby now wants to take that several steps further.  “At Allied Fiber we want to be able to provide (any service provider or carrier) multiple paths of connectivity.  If they (the service provider) can connect to us, then they are free to do (or connect to) what they wish.”

A strong advocate of distributed interconnect and peering, Newby also sees Allied Fiber’s infrastructure as a giant, neutral carrier interconnection point.  As each in line amplifier or regeneration site requires a physical support facility, and as noted will also support antenna towers, it is also reasonable to extend the site to include neutral carrier colocation and neutral interconnection both within the site, as well as along the Allied Fiber route to other similar interconnection points.

As Allied Fiber also intends to extend their fiber to existing major and second tier carrier hotels (such as 60 Hudson, etc), this will give connecting service providers the ability to interconnect with other service providers throughout the United States and international locations through a neutral connectivity system – further relieving themselves of monopoly pricing and service restriction potentially imposed by incumbent or transit carriers.

And the product of this exercise is greater competition.  Newby is in the business of providing the “connectivity buss,”  and openly states Allied Fiber’s policy is “come one, come all.”  Regional and local networks/service providers can then take the transit carrier factor out of their list of business risk, with an outcome of better broadband and Internet access to end points throughout America.  A more competitive America.

Read other posts in this series, including:

Hunter Newby on Communications in America – The Yin and Yang of Mobility

This is Part 2 in a series highlighting Hunter Newby’s thoughts and visions of communications in America. Part 2 will highlight Newby’s ideas on the yin and yang of telecom infrastructure. Additional articles touch on net neutrality, the fiber optic industry, and the dilemma of supporting telecom “end points.”


HunterNewby_thumb

Most people today have a strong “sense of entitlement” towards telecommunications, Internet, and broadcast media.  We really don’t care about the underlying infrastructure needed to deliver our communications tools, we simply expect access to YouTube where and when we choose.

Hunter Newby, Founder and CEO of Allied Fiber, lives in a different world.  A world requiring right of ways, trenching, tower construction, a working knowledge in the science of photonics, and professional skills needed to translate his world into a form investors and the market can understand.

While Newby’s own company, Allied Fiber, focuses on building a high capacity national fiber optic backbone, he also accepts at a user or end-point level “wireless mobile will dominate.”  Newby accepts that in the 21st century “we cannot live without mobility.”  However he also is quick to point out communications mobility “cannot exist without fiber.”

The Yin and Yang of Mobility

The physical requirements for building high capacity mobile or wireless networks are constantly evolving.  Today there may be an apparent glut of fiber optic capacity, tomorrow cable and wireless networks may have used up most available long haul capacity (needed to interconnect networks on a national or global level).

Thus, Newby explains “the requirements for wireless and fiber are a Yin and Yang. “

If you imagine a Yin and Yang image, it is clear neither side dominates the other.  If one side expands in a direction, it must contract in another direction, as its available resources are focused on the expansion.  And each side has a finite set of available resources. A simple way to describe the Yin and Yang is to consider how “opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.”

Newby looks at the development of telecom infrastructure needed to support mobility and end points (including human “end users”) as interdependent.  If you look at development of fiber optic infrastructure versus wireless, the development is not done in parallel.  “Development (of infrastructure) is not done in a straight line, but rather it is a wavy line” comments Newby.  “Requirements change, and the yingcorresponding infrastructures must change to respond to shortfalls.  And that is done by building excess infrastructure (in either fiber or wireless physical networks).”

And Then the Cycle Repeats

“Wireless will drive the need for more towers, fiber, and access capacity” advises Newby.  End point requirements continue to expand, as applications and network-enabled utilities continue consuming more network resources.  “Smart Grids,” intelligent homes, video, emerging 4G/LTE/MIMO/WiMAX delivery of everything from video to disaster recovery requires constant planning and upgrades of network infrastructure.

While it is natural to think on a local level, such as how many towers are needed to provide high performance access capacity for a single community, Newby is quick to remind us that single communities must be connected to the global community.  To connect Montreal to New York requires long haul capacity supporting millions of end points.  If we add Chicago, Toronto, St. Louis, Dallas, Vancouver, and Los Angeles end points to the community the requirement jumps up to potentially billions of end points.

Now add Asian cities, European cities, Africa, and Latin America to the global community and Newby admits it is easy to become overwhelmed with the scale of planning companies like Allied Fiber need to consider when designing backbone infrastructure needed to fulfill end point requirements. Just as the communications industry has done since Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call in 1875.


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:

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:

What Americans Should Know About Palestine – Part 2

An Emerging RamallahWhat does statehood mean to a young Palestinian student, dreaming of her future and that of her friends and family?  “Of course a Palestinian State means we will have the opportunity to focus energy on building our lives, and not have to wake up in the morning with a tank parked in front of our house.”  Hiba, a university student in Ramallah, goes on to say “You might say in ways we are victims, due to the occupation, but we cannot continue complaining about it.  We have to continue working to develop ourselves.  We really want independence and statehood.”

In April 2011, during a visit to Ramallah, I had the opportunity to interview several Palestinians, and asked their views on statehood, Palestine’s place in the world, and what they wanted Americans to know about Palestine.   The interviews included members of the government, entrepreneurs, students, and even taxi drivers.  The responses to questions were remarkably consistent.  Nobody mentioned resistance or violence, and in all cases rejected the recent level of conflict in the Gaza territory as unproductive to the Palestinian cause.

We are sensitive and creative people. We have poets, writers, and a deep culture.”

I ask “what do you want Americans to know about Ramallah and Palestine?”

Each person has a slightly different answer, but all answers are positive.  Talk about the occupation quickly moves on to topics about future, and how everything in changing in Ramallah.  In fact, just walking along the streets of Ramallah can be a challenge – not because of anything dangerous, but rather the level of construction makes it difficult to navigate streets.

Answers to the question are difficult to pin down.  Once the topic is raised, you will get one or two quick ideas, including concern that Americans are not getting a clear picture of the “real” Palestine through news media.  In particular, those in Ramallah want Americans to know there is a big difference between the West bank and Gaza.  The impressions Americans get (as seen on their satellite television broadcasts of CNN and Fox News) of Palestine is one of rocket attacks, kidnappings, and violence.  In reality, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, and other locations within the West Bank are very peaceful, with most people working hard to improve their quality of life.

Ramallah itself is a city of cafes, shopping, cultural events, construction, and even discos to round out an emerging night life and entertainment industry.   However, as this is not current news, and does not sell US advertising, it is rare you would ever have an opportunity to see this side of Palestine in the US media.  

Hiba was a bit disappointed on one topic – she was busy the following day and could not attend TEDx Ramallah, an independent event supported by the innovative community TED.  “TEDxRamallah aims to showcase inspiring stories of Palestine. It also aims to educate and inspire by providing a space for people to share their ideas in any field, whether science, education, literature, technology, design, etc. to contribute to the positive perception of Palestine.”

She concedes the Palestine university system may not adequately introduce innovation and entrepreneurial spirit within the formal curriculum, however with groups such as TEDx Ramallah, and expatriate Palestinians returning to the country there is a new spirit driving young people.  In addition, the Palestinian Authority actively encourages foreign companies to invest in Palestinian small and medium businesses (SMEs), hoping to further develop both the local economy and support innovation.

Investment in Palestine is being encouraged not merely to increase the size of the economy, but also to increase private sector employment, generate income, and improve living standards. A move towards increased per capita prosperity will additionally have the overall effect of potentially stabilizing tensions in the region, if achieved in tandem with a just political settlement. A just peace and prosperity within the West Bank and Gaza
Strip is not only good for us, but it’s good for Israel and the Middle East as a whole.
(PIPA)

The 2010 Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem attracted more than 1000 potential investors from 38 countries with pledges to invest nearly $1bil in Palestinian SMEs. Of particular note was the interest in developing Palestine’s IT and software development industries, which are attractive due to the limitations in export/import of materials as controlled by Israel.   This does show a very positive outlook and confidence in Palestine’s future by the international community.

“Statehood Means We Will Have an Identity”

The WallHiba continues that “I have never been outside of the West Bank.  Not because I don’t want to travel and see other locations around the world, rather it is because I cannot get a passport, and am not allowed to travel outside of Palestine.  I know how the outside world is, because we get movies and television from around the world.  What makes us different from the rest of the world?  Why can’t I experience life as in the movies and television just because I was born in Palestine?

Difficult for an American to appreciate.  For us freedom of movement, expression, and religion is assumed, and we feel great anger when faced with even small barriers to those freedoms.

It hurts inside that we cannot travel to Jerusalem and pray at our Mosques and other holy sites.  Those locations are very important to us (Palestinians and Muslims).”

A taxi driver goes out of his way to expose me to the difficulties all Palestinians encounter while going through checkpoints (between Ramallah and Jerusalem), and give an up close view of walls, guard towers, and Israeli military installations designed to control movement, keeping Palestinians within the West Bank territory.

With statehood we can begin applying our energy to improving our lives, not just trying to stay alive.”

Then his conversation once again turns positive.  “Do you see their settlements?  Don’t you agree Ramallah is a much nicer city than Tel Aviv?  Once we have freedom we’ll be a very strong little country.”

A Lasting Impression

While this is not my first visit to Palestine, Israel, or other locations within the Middle East, each experience brings new observations, emotions, and ideas.  Human nature tells us we should think positive, as negative energy rarely brings progress.  The Palestinians have a tremendous level of positive energy, and as an outsider it is certainly refreshing to see the enthusiasm of a country on the verge of establishing their own nation and identity.

Will the United Nations grant this status?  Will Israel accept a Palestine state?  Will the United States apply pressure to the region to consider Palestinian autonomy?

Time will tell.  But for now, we can only hope the international community and media will apply factual reporting of all aspects of the Palestine issue.  It is a wonderful place, with warm, friendly people, and we will hope their future generations will be free to develop and prosper as any other in our global community.

NOTE: For the record we need to acknowledge Israeli citizens are also prevented from entering the West Bank and Gaza. This can only contribute to the misunderstandings between citizens of each country. And in fact, during the routine “interrogation” I received departing from the Tel Aviv airport, the majority of questions directed to me were more of “tell me a bit more about Ramallah. I cannot go there and it is interesting to hear how things are within the city…”

Citizen Journalists and Modern Chronicles of Disaster

Jeff Jarvis, author, journalist, and new media visionary provided his thoughts on citizen journalism during a CNN interview (13 March 2011) following the Japan tsunami disaster.  One of the most interesting ideas concerned the immediacy and presence of citizens able to record events, and distribute recorded events in near real time.  Jarvis expressed the idea that we cannot wait for traditional journalists to arrive at the scene of an event, and with new devices such as cell phone cameras and the Internet any citizen can provide raw materials which journalists may then provide deeper context.

Citizen Journalism 2011Journalists as News Aggregators

Tradition news media is still working to fully understand the deal with the idea of citizen journalism, and how to use the global pool of news recorders to not only their benefit, but also the benefit of viewers and readers.  Jarvis further developed the idea of media becoming an aggregator of news recorded by amateur sources around the world.  Whether it is through a CNN iReport, KTLA “My Capture/Your KTLA,” or a Fox news “U-Report,” traditional media has recognized the power of citizens, and is aggressively recruiting citizen sources to supplement their own news sources.

As Jarvis mentioned, there is no way traditional media companies can provide adequate on-the-scene journalists to cover all aspects of a story or event.  Thus if citizens are able to provide more raw materials, and the traditional media company can collate or aggregate those materials, while adding context or piecing individual pieces of a story together to complete a larger story.  This is particularly important in rapidly developing situations, such as the Japan Tsunami, a California wildfire, or other crisis.

NOTE:  Nearly every news outlet supporting citizen journalism input also includes a disclaimer recommending no person put themselves into “harm’s way” to provide video or photo records of an event.

Journalism Becomes a Source of “What We Don’t Know”

As citizen journalism continues to supplement traditional media, Jarvis continued discussing the idea of news changing from a an idea of presenting “what we do know” about an event or story, to identifying “what we don’t know.”  That is a difficult idea to fully comprehend.  However when we are able to consider the immediacy of news sources, it is very exciting.

For example, as I sit in Montreal writing a story about the earthquake in Sendai, I know that many people in Japan still have access to the Internet, have cameras, and are constantly monitoring social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter.  There is a very good chance if I desire information on a specific city, or recovery event occurring within a city, there will be somebody in that location who can provide the information or photos needed to complete my story.  I may never meet that source, and may only be able to send an email message in thanks (in addition to citing their contribution in the story), but the source (or sources) is now available to me within minutes from virtually anywhere in the world.

In an event as large as the Sendai tsunami, even an outlet such as CNN with two or three on-the-scene reporters can only cover a small fraction of the entire magnitude of the incident.  To get the full picture, having dozens or hundreds of contributing citizen journalists will not only help interested viewers around the world gain access to a more complete picture of the event, but also when necessary provide an unfiltered view of an event.

YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Other Neutral Archives

The real value of video, photo, and textual records of an event may be in the raw form it is recorded.  While we expect a news media source, whether a newspaper, magazine, or television news program to provide a factual report on an event, it is not a guarantee.  Any person who has traveled around the world, watching news programs sourced in many different countries, it is very clear each news source has a slightly different presentation of the same event or story.

If you watch CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, CCTV (China), NHK (Japan), or France 2, or Fox News, you will definitely get 7 different representations of the same story.  In this case citizens loading their raw videos or photos to a neutral archive will provide a view into an event without the fear of government spin or propaganda, nor newscasters adding their own editorial or politically motivated analysis.

The Future of News

While not promoting the idea of encouraging the average citizen to become a war correspondent, being equipped with a recording device does give each citizen the ability to record a snapshot of time and event.  Whether it is providing supplemental materials to a news outlet, or providing real-time information to emergency service personnel, citizens recording events are here to stay.  At some point governments and others attempting to “spin” facts in their interest or favor will lose their influence due to the ability to archive raw recordings of events within the global Internet “cloud.”

After spending a morning looking through the raw tsunami and earthquake video uploaded to YouTube, it is clear traditional news media and journalists could never provide the level of un-edited footage available through the Internet.  We will still watch CNN (and other stations) to learn more of the big picture, but it is clear the future will have that big picture produced through the efforts of individual citizens, at a level much higher than we have been exposed to in the past.

IPv6 Crosses a New Line of Urgency

In an event passing nearly un-noticed, with the potential impact of a virtual asteroid slamming into the heart of Manhattan, the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA)  without fanfare, and without understanding by most of the global Internet, allocated the final blocks of IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) addresses to regional Internet registries (RIRs) during the first week of February.

While the “Internet” is not in danger of an imminent meltdown, the message is clear, “get ready to adopt IPv6, the accepted successor to IPv4, or accept the reality your business is on a countdown timer.”

IPv4 CounterExhaustion of IPv4

Let’s consider a couple analogies to help visualize what IPv4 exhaustion means.

Fossil Fuels.  We know there is a limit to the amount of oil and coal available to our planet.  Once the oil and coal are gone, those sources of energy are also gone.  We are now aggressively looking at ways to produce energy through alternate methods, including solar power, wind power, hydrogen, and other thermal sources.

No question, when the oil is gone, it is gone, and we will no longer have it is a potential source of energy.  There may be a period of buying and selling remaining resources, there may be stocks of fuel that will extend the life of a single country or group longer than others – but when oil is gone it is gone.  Ditto IPv4, although the initial allocation of addresses will remain, they just won’t be able to connect to the rest of the world.

.Airplane Seats.  An airplane might have 250 seats on a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Once those seats are filled, nobody else is getting on the airplane.  You might be able to barter for seats, beg somebody to disrupt their plans because you want to sit next to a friend or wife/husband, or you might get an offer to go on a different flight if you are willing to let somebody else go in your seat – however when the jetway door closes, you are not getting on the airplane.

OK, no perfect analogies, because we all know the Internet is a constant, and will operate at IPv4 for a long time if you are one of the lucky ones with plenty of IPv4 addresses under your control.  However for those ho want to develop new products and services, build new networks, or implement some new cosmic internet-enabled “thingy,” the door is just about shut.

Internet-connected ladies and gentlemen, IPv4 addresses are now fully allocated to the regional registries.  Nothing left in the bank.

Why IPv6 Needs to be Taken Seriously

In late 2010 I took part in a networking workshop in Kingston, Jamaica.  Quite a few participants from Caribbean academic networks, including representatives from Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, and Grenada. As IPv6 was not on the agenda, nor was it discussed, I had no choice but to raise the question “how about IPv6?  Where does that fit into the regional strategy?”

The response was uniformly “we have plenty of IPv4 addresses available, we do not need IPv6 in the Caribbean.”  Discussions with government network leadership in Indonesia throughout 2010 resulted in similar responses- IPv6 was simply not on the list of priorities.  The network works, why mess with it?

Thankfully Indonesia has very robust private industry support of IPv6, and IPv6 is being addressed in spite of government indifference.

No story or article on IPv6 can pass without a sidebar or paragraph on the numbers of IPv4 vs. IPv6.  Here are the numbers once again – if you have not had a chance to grasp the scope of our preaching and evangelism.

IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to deal with the long-anticipated IPv4 address exhaustion, and is described in Internet standard document RFC 2460, published in December 1998. While IPv4 allows 32 bits for an Internet Protocol address, and can therefore support 232 (4,294,967,296) addresses, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, so the new address space supports 2128 (approximately 340 undecillion or 3.4×1038 ) addresses. This expansion allows for many more devices and users on the internet as well as extra flexibility in allocating addresses and efficiency for routing traffic. 

WikiPedia

This means if we, as a planet, want to move ahead with things such as intelligent grids, intelligent devices, new applications, new internet-enabled everything – we will need to have adequate IP address space to accommodate that future.  We cannot do that with IPv4 address limitations, but IPv6 gives us enough space to grow to the point we cannot currently even fully understand the entire extent of that address space.  Or in other words, IPv6 will do the job for the next couple Internet-enabled generations.

The Future of the Internet is Ours to Choose

Martin Levy, Director IPv6 Strategy at Hurricane Electric, one of those thought leaders who has been driving Internet at the operational level for a really, really long time sums it up succinctly,

IPv4 was yesterday’s news. Today is the day after yesterday, where IPv6 matters to each and every user of the global Internet. (Martin’s Blog)

Even as you read this blog, the available IPv4 address space is slipping away.  The Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are reviewing their IPv4 allocation policies, and you can go to sleep with relative certainty the little guy is not going to be in a very strong position when those last blocks of addresses are issued.

Discussions are popping up all over the Internet on how we can step back and find more efficient ways to use the existing IPv4 address space, squeezing more time out of it through global cooperation, emergence of trading and markets for the buying and selling of IPv4 addresses, and even more creative use of network address translation.

Or of course they could simply spend the same amount of energy to deploy IPv6 in their networks.

What Can the End User Do?

Well, after years of promoting IPv6 – at least in marketing materials, equipment vendors are finally starting to produce hardware which can handle “Native IPv6” routing.  Cisco/Linksys, NetGear, Belkin, and all the other guys are finally stepping up to meet the needs of consumers.  Mobile phone vendors and applications providers for iPhones, Androids, and Windows are being forced to produce IPv6-ready products.  The tools are finally starting to become available.

Internet providers in Asia, Europe, and the Americas are finally putting IPv6 capability into their networks, and the topic is no longer responded to with amusement and indifference by network operators and administrators.

But within the broad community of IT administrators,  applications developers, private and government network providers – the actual IPv6-readiness factor is pretty low.

So again, what can we do?

Easy, as a consumer, employee, manager, or user of Internet services we have somebody – whether it be an organizational IT manager, ISP, or other provider, who is responsible for implementing IPv4 or continuing to put virtual scotch tape and bubble gum on a a geriatric IPv4 network.

Raise the question as a consumer.  Raise the question as a manager.  Raise the question as a corporate strategist.  Raise the question to everybody above your level that is blocking or not adequately answering the need to consider or implement IPv6 in your network.

Ask them at what point the “Law of Plentitude,” or that point where not having access to IPv6 will put you in a competitive, social, or professional risk will be reached.  At what point, if your Internet-connected world is not IPv6-connected, will you be denied access to your community?  And what are they going to do about it?

Epilogue

From the Internet Society

World IPv6 Day

On 8 June, 2011, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks will be amongst some of the major organisations that will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight”. The goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.

In the Australian IT online edition Paul Wilson, head of the RIR for Asia (APNIC), was quoted “I gave a presentation in Japan last year where I said: ‘look we’re not asking you to panic, but maybe you should panic just a little bit’.”

Global Internet Network Providers are starting to take notice, but they sadly represent a small percentage of the global Internet-connected IT administration and applications development community.  Call your network representative and ask if they are participating in World IPv6 Day.  Ask them “why not” if you get a negative reply.  If you represent a government or company, force the issue.  If you are a consumer, consider changing providers if your network shows indifference.

IPv6 will happen – don’t be on the wrong side of plentitude.

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.

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