Interview: Director, Greenet, Netherlands: “We believe that proper broadband connections are a must for everyone.”
Bart Heinink, is owner and director of Greenet, an ISP that offers a fixed-line replacement service using LTE. He will be speaking on this subject on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013 at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.
Please give me an overview of Greenet and its major achievements.
Greenet is a provider that focuses on the areas of the Netherlands where fixed-line broadband connectivity is poor and expensive. We believe that proper broadband connections are a must for everyone. We first focus on the needs of customers by targeting areas with poor broadband connections. After gaining commercial commitments we construct dedicated LTE networks used for fixed-line replacement. We are very successful in demand bundling (up to 90 per cent participation) and will launch our first network in April. After that we have a solid commercial basis that will allow us to quickly roll-out LTE networks at specific locations as a dedicated for Fixed2Mobile (F2M) substitution.
Why is LTE important to you and where does LTE fit into your strategy?
LTE finally enables mobile technology to live up to the promise it has offered for a long time, but which as yet has not come true. It offers a true alternative for fixed-line broadband. We offer LTE in the market as an alternative for fixed-line connectivity by bundling enough demand to be able to invest in dedicated LTE F2M capacity.
Could LTE be viewed as a threat or an opportunity for fixed-line operators?
Most certainly as both. In highly populated areas LTE will not be able to offer the required capacity to both fulfil mobile as well as ‘fixed’ demand. At home or at hotspots fixed-line connectivity and Wi-Fi off-loading cannot be replaced by LTE, nor can LTE live up to the bandwidths fixed-line networks can offer.
Having said that, LTE is a very efficient and adequate alternative to fixed lines in certain areas. LTE connectivity is around 10 times cheaper than constructing a FTTH network. In areas where FTTH is not viable, LTE definitely offers a true alternative if the network is designed in a way that guarantees sufficient and dedicated capacity. Given these prerequisites, the European Commission recognised that LTE is an adequate alternative for fixed NGA networks.
What are the chief technical challenges you are facing?
The major challenges we are facing are:
- Availability of spectrum. Sufficient capacity for offering an alternative for fixed lines requires sufficient spectrum.
- Ability to offer TV and video services. We hope transport technology, quality of service management on LTE will develop rapidly in order to be able to offer competitive TV offers via LTE.
What opportunities will the cloud offer to ISPs and MNO?
For a start-up like Greenet the cloud offers significant opportunities. Services that were complicated and expensive to offer as a small operator, can now be offered via the cloud. Business telephony is an example but also OTT TV and video services.
What do you think will be the most exciting developments in the industry in 2013?
I think it will be the industry living up to the promise that LTE offers. For understandable reasons the take-up of LTE in Europe as well as our home market the Netherlands has been quite slow. We see 2013 as the year mobile broadband will make a significant step-up in its capabilities and market potential.