Russian-Bears-200Similar to Germany, faster than France. A few years ago, I was amazed to discover that Russia had some of the fastest Internet in Europe. Akamai's State of the Internet Report is based on a massive data set and showed excellent speeds in Russia. Most are served from fiber to the basement, inherently faster than most DSL, the main European connection. Russians generally live in apartment buildings and FTTB was the natural way to build the networks.

According to Akamai's report, the Q3 average connection speed in Russia was 11.6 Mbps, about midway between England's 9.7 Mbps and Germany's 13.7 Mbps. Russia is ahead of Germany in peak speed measures. (Unfortunately, the Akamai report has important methodological problems. The relative speeds do correspond to other data I've seen so I think they are in the right proportions.)

The market is intensely competitive despite only having three players in many areas. Prices were always low and fell further in dollar terms as the oil price dragged down the rural.

In most countries with only three players, the companies usually find a way to signal each other to all raise prices. Minister Nikolai Nikiforov is young, aggressive, and knows enough not to be fooled by company lobbying. It may be that he more effectively uses government power on behalf of consumers.

There's a myth floating around that deregulated networks normally serve customers better and governments always get in the way. Russia has a strong, almost authoritarian government but excellent Internet at an extraordinary price. China is even more dramatic. They have 270M wireline broadband connections compared to about 100M in the U.S. The gap is growing rapidly, as much as 8M lines in a recent quarter. In China, all three telcos are majority government owned and take orders from the Minister. A few years back, the Minister moved CEOs and other top executives between companies, apparently in an attempt to reduce corruption. (The Vice Chairman of China Unicom was facing a long prison term last I looked.) Vietnam and Egypt, neither democratic, are the fastest growing broadband networks 

Democracy is a good thing but the evidence is scant it's the most efficient way to rise out of poverty.  

The 31M figure and the $6 price are from Chris Dziadul of Broadband TV News, an excellent publication focusing on Eastern Europe. Point-Topic's subscriber figure is about 10% lower.


Often interesting


Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Feb 27-March 2 100,000 mob Barcelona. Fares from New York are triple the usual price and hotels even higher - if you can find one less than a hour from the city. Everybody who is anybody goes so everybody who is anybody goes. Beyond the pomp and hot air are a slew of top technical people. Seek them out and make sure yo make appointments in advance with the people you want to see. Hint: You can still get rooms at the hostels in town. Next year, book way in advance to get one of the hotel rooms GSMA have negotiated with the city.

Digital Hollywood Media Summit, New York March 7-8. Victor Harwood always had an enormous number of top people in an almost overcrowded schedule. Senior folks from advertising, all media, marketing and more. VR and AR are heavily represented, from the talent to the salesmen. The price is about half what most shows charge and there are discounts for those with limited resources, including students.  A great way to learn what the most advanced in these fields are doing.

Brooklyn 5G Summit April 19-21st The most sophisticated people in wireless will be there, from the CTOs of NTT and Nokia to the most respected academics on the planet. Incredible S/N. If you can't come to Brooklyn, you must watch the stream. It takes two or three years for most people to catch up to what's learned here. Summit, Paris May 9-11 Trevor Linney of BT is deploying 10M lines. John Cioffi promises something astonishing. Everyone in the industry will be there except Broadcom, being their usual antisocial self. On the 9th, Hubert Mariotte of the standards committee has a deep technical tutorial and I have a session for everyone else.

TNO Ultrabroadband Den Haag June 12-15 Always a strong group.

I'm moving from to everything since July 2014 is here.


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