Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Structural Separation?: CAIW cable bought by Rabo real estate/infra fund and management

Interesting news. The Dutch cable company CAIW has been sold to its management and Bouwfonds Asset Management (Rabobank's real estate division). The commercial part has been sold to the management and the network has been sold to Bouwfonds. This sounds like a structural separation between the network and the commercial part, where the commercial part will rent hte lines from Bouwfonds and Bouwfonds sees this as a long term investment with fixed margins. It's not clear from the press release how the structural separation will be achieved, ie will Bouwfonds just own the passive cables or also part of the active infrastructure and/or will this be only be a legal separation and will the operation remain the exact same.

From what I can gather from the financial documents the sale price was around 190 million Euro for 150k subs or 135000 houses (110 million in net profit for the municipalities, but there was 83 million in long term debt), which would translate to about €1250 per sub. (Not Cheap! with a profit of 4.3 million) Unfortunately it is unclear to me how much was paid for the network and for the commercial part separately.

I still find it very interesting because this is a clear example that there is money in infrastructure and investment firms do like long term investments in network infrastructure. CAIW has also shown itself to be innovative and has already invested in fibre networks for both business and consumers (Naaldwijk)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fibre optic cable laying vessel Tyco Responder in Curacao

In December I was on Curacao for my wedding. In the city center I got this telecommunications treat: The Tyco Responder floated past us into the harbour of Curacao. This ship lays and repairs fibre optic cable in the Caribbean. These ships have made the internet possible. Imagine if you would still connect to most of the world via satellite..... If you ever want to know about the business of laying cables, read Mother Earth, Motherboard by Neal Stephenson. (Unfortunately the image is a bit blue because of a wrong setting on my camera)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Reding: Blame it on the National Regulators

Ai Frau Reding has the audicity to blame the national regulators that they haven't brought mobile data roaming tariffs down!

Wasn't the problem that national regulators were incapable of bringing down these rates, because the rates were high at the wholesale level and therefore out of their jurisdiction (a foreign mobile operator was the problem). Wasn't it the case that our friends from the Commission therefore had to set the roaming rates? Wasn't it the same Commission that didn't want to regulate data roaming, but saved it for a later date?

Come on Frau Reding, you could have fixed this last year, don't blame it on the national regulators! Or is this all a scheme to get the Euro Uber Regulator (EECMA) in place?
Even better fix mobile roaming by introducing competition. Give all operators including MVNO's the option to offer access to anybody roaming in the country and require that the home operator is only allowed to charge a small percentage for the billing. For this see my previous entry.