Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lattelecom officially approved to do digital terrestrial TV

The Latvian government officially confirmed the results of a tender process granting Lattelecom the right to build out and operate digital terrestrial TV in Latvia. The government decision stipulates that Lattelecom must sign an agreement with the Latvian State Radio and Television Center to use the state-owned network of broadcast towers for implementing the digital conversion. The process must be finished by 2013 and deliver the digital signal to 99 % of the territory of Latvia.
Although Latvia started working on digital television in the early 2000s, the first project was beset by scandals and cancelled, with most of those involved presently on trial on various criminal fraud charges. While some government officials may have exceeded their authority and known of the concealed offshore involvement of Latvian businessmen in the aborted project, private sector actors maintain that they delivered all that was contracted for and therefore have committed no fraud.
The delays mean that Latvia will be among the last countries in Europe to implement digital TV. Most urban dwellers in Latvia view TV through cable networks and are unaffected by the analog-to-digital switch on the terrestrial broadcast network. The change will mainly affect remote rural areas and views unable to afford satellite dishes. This is seen as an audience with relatively low purchasing power.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The fastest f**king internet in the world = true

I don't get letters from BMW or Maserati dealers. But if I did, and they offer the latest model with, say, 350 horsepower, or even 500 horsepower, I would say, yeah, cool. But if I got a brochure saying that my next BMW would have two F-16 fighter jet engines welded to the roof allowing the vehicle to do Mach 2 or more (before disintegrating ?), I would ask what are they smoking? Car sales have fallen so badly that I don't exclude the use of hallucinogens to pass the time down at the dealership any more...
I had similar thoughts when I heard some Lattelecom honchos talk about 10 gigabit (yes GIGA) internet connections. Surely, they are talking about the carrier grade line that will link to their various fiber to the home (FTTH) projects (one such line could sustain around 100 connections delivering 100 Mbps). But it was unclear what they meant. Even when the news services picked up the story as claiming 10 Gbps to the end user, I thought, WTF? Someone has been misunderstood. And then I saw it in a press release on the Lattelecom website. Latvians love pickled mushrooms, and maybe the wrong kind got picked, pickled and put on a table at some press office after-work party (Latvians love to celebrate name days, etc. at the office). So I called and double-checked.
Yes, Lattelecom does intend to build the capability to deliver 10 Gbps to end users. The technology exists and is being implemented. I think this will be a service mainly oriented toward corporate users. I can't imagine any home having the kind of supercomputing capability needed to actually deal with 10 Gbps of anything (maybe wire together a couple of Playstation 3 with their Cell processors?). But for the record, if this gets built, Latvia will have the fastest internet on the planet. F**king A!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lattelecom--500 Mbps internet by end of 2009

Latvia's Lattelecom hopes to implement 500 megabit per second (Mbps) symmetical internet connections by the end of the year, using fiber-to-the home (FTTH) technology, according to CEO Juris Gulbis. Gulbis said that initially, the FTTH connections would have speeds of 100 Mbps but by end-2009 would jump to 200 and 500 Mbps.
Lattelecom has started a three year project to convert most of its current DSL network to FTTH over the next few years. Around 30 apartment buildings in a Riga suburb were the first to be connected recently with the intention to replace DSL with FTTH in all residential buildings with at least 30 units in Riga and other urban centers.
Gulbis said that HD television, including HD films on demand would be one of the services made possible by the higher connection speeds. Initially, however, FTTH will meet the bandwidth needs of households with several home computers and television sets, including HD TVs.
Lattelecom is also in the early stage of planning a software as a service plaform for home and small businesses that would be available over its high speed, so-called "Future Network".
"Our goal is the have the fastest internet in Europe," Gulbis told this blogger.
Gulbis said that the higher speed services will be offered for the same price as present internet and/or triple-play packets, starting from around LVL 20 per month (tariffs have been boosted by higher VAT from January 1)
At the same time, Lattelecom has started to market Triatel's EV-DO based wireless and mobile internet service to more the 30 000 potential customers who cannot be connected to the company's fixed internet network. The service will initially offer 3.2 Mbps download speeds and will be available in around 70 % of Latvia's territory.