FierceTelecom: When you talk to the independent telcos, what are their concerns with broadband deployments?
Howard-Anderson: I think the top three or four concerns stem from competition. Are they keeping up with cable and/or are they leapfrogging cable? It's about bandwidth and services. That gets to the intelligence and flexibility of the infrastructure they put in. It's all about economics and that's where the broadband stimulus plan and the national broadband plan will dovetail nicely to continue government help for the next ten years. That will help them make investments and tilt their ROI a bit more favorably. I think which technology choices to make when to be their next concern. They want the best performance and as I said flexibility, adaptability and suitability to all kinds of new services. I think they have to transition their product offerings than they have in the past. They have to think of video as a new dial tone, meaning that it's not just TV but video being a signal that allows interactivity. To do that you need a network that has the performance for that but also intelligence and flexibility to do different things with it.
FierceTelecom: Traditionally, Occam has been U.S.-centric but last year Occam decided it was time to penetrate the European market. Can you give us an update on that initiative and the dynamics of the European broadband market?
Howard-Anderson: I think the biggest dramatic factor is that 10-20 years ago the European market was typified by the fact that the telco was a government-owned monopoly PTT. In most cases now that's completely decentralized into allowing more of an open market were alternate providers have sprung up and/or a blurring of lines between small cable companies and telcos. Municipalities that have a power utility now offer broadband. It's a much more open and dynamic and that's a good thing for allowing new equipment providers to come in.
Second, we see the healthy embrace of Ethernet and IP technologies. Europe has been quick adopters of open standards and IP and Ethernet technologies. We see Fiber to the Premises-although difficult in rural areas-a natural inclination to go in and put in fiber instead of investing in more copper. We see Fiber to the Premises in Europe taking some of the historical or legacy country to country variants of dial tone and leveling the playing field for the fiber-based services having much more of a higher degree of commonality from country to country.
FierceTelecom: Finally, home networks continue to evolve as evidenced today with Cisco's consumer friendly announcement. Do you see a new evolution there?
Howard-Anderson: We wholeheartedly embrace all the innovations that are happening in the home. Home networking and user experience all drive the demand for higher and higher speeds of broadband connectivity and more intelligence, flexibility and programmability in the network. Things like 3DTV will drive more broadband, but applications like home moniotoring or built in Skype to your TV or getting it as a widget on your TV all require greater bandwidth, but also greater intelligence to deal with things in two directions rather than one. It's all going to change the way we live and communicate with our loved ones and businesses and drive the need to keep the infrastructure going.