Tuesday, 3 March 2009

More than half the world has a cellphone ...

Interesting article in today's Guardian that more than half the world now uses a cellphone.

Not surprising. Even in Turkey in 1998 it was surprising how common they were. Morocco and Greece the following year, the same thing.

Not surprising. All three countries had been relatively poor with poor infrastructure and scattered populations outside of the cities. Mobile phones took over as cell phone towers were cheaper to build than a wired network, and were personal and convenient.

Saw the same in Laos in 2004. And you can see the same thing in Canberra. The useful fibre (FTTH) network doesn't come to everywhere in the city as it was expensive to build, outcompeted by satellite tv, more expensive, not enough channels, so the rollout stalled.

Net result, when the idea of fast broadband to the home came around, coverage was spotty, and there wasn't a reason or funding enough to spread the network to the rest of the city, so we get ADSL2 and people in the next suburb get FTTH, just because that's where the cable hauling trucks stopped when the cash ran out.

Same can be seen in the UK, Sky TV killed the cable networks. Strangely enough you see the opposite in the US and the Netherlands. Cable TV happened early as it gave access to wide range of channels and the cost of putting wires in was at the time less than building a satellite tv infrastructure. Net result is that the cable tv companies can then move into internet provision as they have the infrastructure.

Be very interesting to see what will happen with mobile broadband over the next few years - will it win out over FTTH or even FTTN?

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