Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Life as Conversation

Too often interactions with politicians are framed by the conventions of battle: one interest group versus another, campaigns waged, etc. In a refreshing departure from that approach, the Swedish Urban Network Association sent an open letter to the Swedish government to start a dialog on the future of open networks. I think this is a great example of how Doc's "Markets are conversations" can be extended to Life is a conversation!

Open letter to the politicians and decision makers of Sweden from the Swedish Urban Network Association (The Swedish Urban Network Association, SSNf, is the Swedish
trade association for urban net owners with open and neutral communication nets)

Open urban net – a prerequisite for Sweden of the future

Approximately 170 local authorities today have an open urban net solution.
The issue now is: How to guarantee a broadband development in Sweden advantageous to all of us.
Do we want a country where you can lead a life both in the cities and on the countryside, still accessing the same offer of electronic services?
Do we want to grant the opportunities for local and creative small entrepreneurs?
Do we want one IT infrastructure supplier being responsible for both cities and countryside?
Do we want a truly open digital society?
If so it is a simple choice: We should continue the open urban net venture
In order to make Sweden successful in granting access for everyone to broadband, a broadband strategy has to have the support of all the main participants of the business.
Openness and durability are the critical issues in parallel with topics as local and regional development. The future of open nets, based on a reliable infrastructure, will offer entirely new opportunities to a variety of entrepreneurs and business owners to share the NEW and UP TO DATE electronic world of broadband as we see ahead.

Sweden an example in the EU
The extension of the new IT infrastructure of Sweden in most Swedish local districts has so far been driven by local council initiatives. The openness has been obvious in these nets, since they have been built in order to develop the local and regional trade and industry as well as the society.
The model used by a majority of the Swedish urban nets, is the one recommended by the EU as the model to be employed by the EU to achieve an open and sustainable IT infrastructure for everyone. These open urban nets have paved the way and secured a lead position for Sweden among the broadband nations of the world.
The main obstacle for Sweden and the Nordic countries is that we cover a large part of the European surface, however, with few inhabitants. In spite of this, a vast number of the Swedish local councils and urban net enterprises have shouldered – as is the situation in the rest of the Nordic countries – the responsibility to build an open and sustainable IT infrastructure adapted to local conditions in each local district or region. The urban nets have taken on a social responsibility, which the market often neither has wanted, nor been able to accomplish.
Together with our members and the majority of the main participants of the broadband market, we are now working on an open IT infrastructure on all levels in the whole of Sweden. If we are to achieve the broadband-for-everyone objective, joint action is a must – not laws, regulations and directive from the Swedish government or the EU.

Ulf Borbos, chairman, The Swedish Urban Network Association
Mats Berggren, deputy chairman
Lars Hedberg, secretary-general

Perhaps we could use this as an example for a much needed discussion in this country. Bonus Link

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