Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More Baltcom (Fiber) buzz

A couple of years ago, a weird corporate contrivance called Foco-16 proposed building an undersea fiber optic cable from Gotland to Ventspils in Latvia with the general idea of making it the next to last link in a fiber optic network from Russia to the Nordic countries. The link from Gotland to the Swedish mainland was built by the Stockholm municipal fiber company STOKAB, which also was involved in the Gotland to Latvia link.
To make a long story short, Foco foco-ed everyone and left a Dutch company (part of the consortium, but specializing in laying and burying subsea cable) with unpaid bills and a dark fiber optic cable. In came Peteris Smidre, the owner of Baltcom TV, and bought the better part of the cable (50 %?). It has 56 optical pairs, roughly enough for the data transmission needs of God, if all pairs are used at full, multi-terabit capacity (possible with state-of the art equipment). Smidre has put the cable under a company called Baltcom Fiber, which has not exactly been selling huge capacity of late, certainly not at a great price. But since the deal was a firesale, Smidre considers it a good long-term investment. With prices for bandwidth stabilizing somewhere above absolute zero, there is hope for making money from fiber again. In the long run, Smidre and Baltcom Fiber are looking to provide managed data transmission services, implementing MPLS and routing datastreams from one IMS network to another and the like. Presently, interest in such services is lukewarm at best, but Smidre believes that content providers (broadband TV, eventually broadband HiDef TV and the like) will come around and let their carrier do the work of shaping their signal and keeping it near perfection. So, a couple of years down the road, look for Baltcom Fiber as a player on the transnational multimedia carrier market.

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