The Serious Stuff

I am attending the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam. The Broadband World Forum is a gathering of the World’s Biggest Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Telco Vendors, IT Policy Makers and Content Providers under One roof. There will be keynote speeches from executives of Google Fiber Access, BT UK, Sprint USA, Spotify, Evernote, Shazam and Mozilla. The theme for this year’s Event is “Powering Digital Innovation through Connectivity & Collaboration”

The Real Stuff

I come from the boring side of information technology. Boring is the best description for those of us in the telco or telco vendor space. We really envy you guys on the “sexy side” of IT — apps, Android, iOS, Python, coding, UI, UX , APIs — all that sexy stuff.

We don’t actually just envy you, we hate you. We used to be the top dogs until you came along. Back in the day with feature phones, we determined what humans could do with their phones. Messages, pictures and voice messages used to come through us. When the subscribers complained, we gave them Blackberries. That was supposed to make their lives a little easier.

This plan went well until some hippie from Cupertino rode in on a White horse. Damn you, Steve Jobs. Why did you think of the smartphone? Why did you let these consumers out of our jails? It’s all your fault. Look at our revenues now. You killed SMS and you gave them WhatsApp. You killed voice and you gave them Viber/ Skype. You killed MMS and you gave them Instagram. As a result of your evil actions, we have turned into dumb pipe providers. We only provide you a pipe to the subscribers and you wreak your havoc.

This is basically why we invented an evil name for you – OTT (Over the Top). You have basically gone over our heads. Let me sound a warning. Nothing lasts forever. Enjoy the spotlight.

What is broadband?

The Serious Stuff

Broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access. It provides access to the highest quality Internet services — streaming media, VoIP (Internet phone), gaming, and interactive services.

The Real Stuff

My mind floats back into the past. I enter a large capacity Vehicle ( Molue) in Obalende heading for Oshodi. As usual, the medicine peddler steps out once we hit 3rd Mainland Bridge. He clears his throat and starts his message He presents his latest product. The product is supposed to be the result of market research and extensive R & D. This Product is called “Gbogbo-Ise”. Gbogbo Ise (all possibilities) is a wonder drug that serves as a cure for malaria, HIV, gonorrhea, typhoid and even erectile dysfunction.

Broadband can be likened to “Gbogbo-Ise” . It cures all maladies. In an ideal World, your phone would act as your digital assistant. It would combine various app functions and deliver quick results in record time. You would watch your Iroko Movies, buy your stuff from Jumia and stream Davido videos to your heart’s content. All of that would happen if we had broadband everywhere. Sadly, we don’t.

I’ll be here till Friday trying to find out what others are doing right and what we are doing wrong.

Oluwole Leigh Author

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