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Broadband Russia Forum 2014: Toward digital equality

November 27-28, 2014 InfoSpace event-hall was the venue of the 4th International Broadband Russia Forum 2014 – Next Generation Broadband Networks Development in Russia, organized by COMNEWS. The event was endorsed by: Roskomnadzor, Rossvyaz, Moscow Chamber of Industry and Commerce, FTTH Council Europe, Wi-Fi Alliance, LTE Union, UMTS Forum, Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), IT and Digital Communications Guild, Internet Developers Association, Association of Regional Telecom Operators (ARTO), International Academy of Communications (IAC), Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC), Moscow Center for International Business Development, National Association of Household Information and Communication Networks (NADIKS).

Broadband Russia Forum 2014 was sponsored by: Huawei, TransTeleCom, Nokia, Russian Broadcasting and Alert Networks (RSVO), Sagemcom, Alcatel-Lucent, DETECON Consulting, Optic-Fiber Systems (Rospromsvyaz), Peter-Service, Start Innovation, Calix.

In 2014, the traditional program of the forum was expanded to include honorary awards ceremony for leaders of the ICT industry COMNEWS AWARDS (Nov. 27), a round table from Standard magazine – Internet of Things (IoT): Present or Future? (Nov. 27), and also the 2nd International Conference Voice 2014 – The Future of VoIP traffic in Russia and CIS. Transit & Retail (Nov. 28). A common exhibition space was set up for the period of the events to showcase new solutions and offer networking opportunities.

The plenary session was kicked off by Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media Dmitry Alkhazov. According to him, despite the fact that broadband penetration countrywide still isn’t high enough, the domestic telecommunications industry successfully keeps pace with the global trends in terms of technology, even though it is one of the few infrastructure industries developed without monetary injections from the state budget. Dmitry Alkhazov underlined that the key objective of the regulator, despite challenging economic situation, is to propel the industry to growth in order to boost broadband penetration, the latter being the number one indicator reflecting the state of telecommunications market in the country.

Nadia Babaali, Communications Director of FTTH Council Europe, said that Russia is currently on the fifth place in the penetration of optic lines in broadband network, and on the first place in broadband subscribers’ growth rate for the year among all countries of Europe and CIS. Stanislav Zhuravlev, Head of VAS Services Development, Fixed Business and TV Marketing Department, MTS, outlined the main market trends for broadband in Russia, and specifically emphasized the growing demand for high access speeds, and a broad variety and snowballing increase in devices connected to the Internet. In conclusion of the plenary session, Management Partner of Detecon International GmbH Dr. Arnulf Heuermann spoke about the problem of rapid-growing data traffic in mobile networks and an efficient way to address it using heterogeneous networks based on small cells.

Next on the agenda was a round table entitled Operator Business amid Slowdown in Broadband Penetration Growth. Panelists arrived at a conclusion that as the markets of big cities become saturated, the primary task for the telecommunication industry today is to bring broadband into small population centers. “Our company is focused on rolling out broadband networks in towns with population of 20,000 people and less”, communicated Svetlana Shamzon, Vice President and Head of Access Block at TransTelecom Company (TTK). Besides, experts are convinced that at this stage of the broadband market development, the quality of services has become a crucial factor, and that includes high Internet access speed, smooth-running and uninterrupted services, and provision of the solicited content. According to Viktor Koresh, this means that broadband operators need to seek effective models of collaboration with content owners. Kirill Stepanenko, Head of RF and Communication Networks Regulation Department, Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media of Russia, emphasized that the regulator will propel further growth in the broadband market using the principle of technological neutrality, and will also look into the issue of shared use of infrastructure and frequency spectrum by operators and address the problem of restricted access to apartment blocks for broadband operators. Other panelists of the round table were: Dmitry Konarev, Chief Expert on MBB, Huawei in Russia, Natalia Bratchikova, Head of Fixed Business and TV Marketing Department, MTS, and General Director of Opticstel (Norilsk-Telecom) Pavel Minaev.

At the end of the round table, Sagemcom company, represented by Dmitry Miroshnikov (Head of Representative Office in Russia and CIS), Thomas Dupoizat (Broadband Sales Director) and Bertrand Pascual (Area Sales Manager) delivered awards to Sagemcom’s partners – Akado, Rostelecom and Tattelecom for their contribution to the broadband industry in Russia.
The case-section after lunch was dedicated to broadband operators’ strategies in the consumer market. Vitaly Tikhonyuk, Сhief Expert, and Ivan Ulyanov, Leading Analyst, "Laboratory for development" Division, PETER-SERVICE, expanded on how broadband operators can become part of Internet advertising ecosystem, which nurtured all major Internet companies, and how to make this business into strategic and critical for your own growth. In turn, speakers from Sagemcom – Thomas Dupoizat, Bertrand Pasqual, Dmitry Miroshnikov and Jerome Enard (Product Manager) shared with the audience the tools to boost subscriber loyalty based on the best practices of European operators, and also presented a high-performance hardware platform, which enables a broad variety of innovative services in broadband networks.

The next section was dedicated to network infrastructure monitoring and service quality management. The first speaker, General Director of Start Innovation Fedor Yaminsky, presented a new umbrella solution iOSS, designed to implement centralized monitoring and control over broadband networks on the federal level. It allows to build all business processes of broadband operators, related to network infrastructure.

Steven Van Den Bergh, Fixed Networks Business Development Manager, Alcatel-Lucent EMEA, offered the viewpoint of one of the largest manufacturers of ICT equipment on the evolution of ultrabroadband networks. According to him, optic lines should be laid as close to subscribers, as possible, because it makes it possible for operators to provide Gigabit access speeds. However, in some regions, copper cables may well complement optic channels, and using G.Fast solutions they can even deliver access speeds comparable with fiber optics.  Dmitry Konarev, Chief Expert on MBB, Huawei in Russia, told the audience about eMBMS technology (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) and the new capabilities it brings to LTE operators. Mikhail Nikolaev, CTO of JDSU Russia, presented several new systems from JDSU designed for pro-active monitoring of broadband networks and testing operator services on the subscribers’ end. The session was concluded by MGTS’ Technical Service Director Nikolay Ilyyushkin who spoke about how TR-069 protocol for remote management of user-end devices can be used to monitor broadband service quality.  

The first day of the forum ended with a section dedicated to new approaches to monetization in operator services. Calix’ Director of Representative Office in Russia Valentin Novikov explored operator business model based on increasing access speeds, made an overview of solutions for Gigabit broadband networks’ roll out, and also touched upon the benefits of operator Wi-Fi systems based on the newest standard IEEE 802.11ac. INTECH’s CINO Ivan Fil offered an insight into the economic model of Internet of Things, and the new opportunities it brings to the table. General Director of 2KOM Anton Rumyantsev shared his company’s experience in adding and retaining subscribers in the Moscow broadband market. Besides, as part of this section COMNEWS Research presented its analytical report on the regional markets of fixed broadband in Russia in the first six months 2014.

Finally, in conclusion of the first day of Broadband Russia Forum 2014 the audience cheered the winners of the annual COMNEWS AWARDS, handed to the champions of the Russian ICT industry.

The second day of the forum started with a plenary session dedicated to issues hindering digital equality on the regional and municipal levels. The first speaker, Anna Tesevich, Rostelecom’s Head of Video Surveillance, told about the operator’s video surveillance projects for secondary schools during exam periods. According to her, elimination of digital inequality is one of the burning issues for each and every domestic broadband operator. Rostelecom’s projects related to video surveillance of Uniform State Exams are designed to solve this problem in secondary schools of small population centers. Konstantin Kokush, General Director of Sevstar MT, described the difficulties faced by telecom players in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol in the period of their annexation to Russia. Finally, Svetlana Alexeeva, Projects Coordinator of a functional support team for collaboration with regulators, MTS, substantiated the need to legislate the concept of ‘socially significant facilities’ in order for the broadband market to continue growing.

The round table organized by the National Association of Household Information and Communication Networks (NADIKS) in follow-up of the plenary session brought together broadband operators and NADIKS members to discuss the paramount tasks related to the deployment of overhead lines, operators’ access to apartment blocks and the contradictory provisions of the regulations in force, along with the financial, organizational and technical means to address these issues. Panelists included: NADIKS’ Board Chairman and Executive Director Leonid Buslaev, NADIKS’ VP for Legal Affairs Mikhail Pashkov, RSVO’s Director of the Department of Government Programs Dmitry Borisov, VP for Business Development of  Detecon International GmbH Alexander Miskin, Director of Legal Affairs of Rostelecom’s macroregional branch Center Dmitry Parkhomenko, NADIKS’ Area Supervisor Mikhail Sitnikov, and also Head of Operations and Deputy Director of  Rostelecom’s macroregional branch Center Vladimir Fariseev. Namely, Mikhail Sitnikov briefed the audience on the progress of the project aiming to put together a register of all communication lines operating in the Russian capital, and Dmitry Borisov brought up a proposal to engage RSVO into cataloguing overhead communication lines in Moscow.

The next section was dedicated to innovations in broadband network architecture and technologies. Pavel Krylov, Director of Core Network Equipment Sales, Huawei in Russia, spoke about the new architecture of Huawei’s operator solutions. He emphasized that the market is pushing for the new services to be launched at an accelerated speed, amid the maximum possible utilization of infrastructure resources. x86-based cloud infrastructure is capable to deliver on these needs, so Huawei has already initiated the migration of all operator solutions to this platform. Maxim Zhirnovsky, Head of Service Platforms and Applications Division, Technical Sales Support Department, Alcatel-Lucent Russia and CIS, shared on his company’s experience in using NFV technology to upgrade broadband operators’ networks. General Director of Optic-Fiber Systems (Rospromsvyaz) Viktor Mikhailov presented fiber optic cables distribution system based on micropipes, which is a lot more cost-efficient compared with cable-conduit systems.  Lidia Varukina, Radio Technology Expert at Nokia Europe Region unveiled her vision of how operator VoIP service based on VoLTE can help mobile operators overcome the difficulties related to market saturation, minimize network load and boost revenue. In conclusion of the session, Alexey Sechkin from Verizon’s Key Partner Relations and Products Department spoke about tools to for information security in operator’s cloud and underlined that security is the main criteria for customers when selecting cloud service supplier, along with the cost.

The final session of the forum was dedicated to content and applications in broadband networks. Its participants discussed the outlook for online video and OTT projects in Russia, as well as the associated technological solutions. Namely, General Director of Bradbury Lab Evgeny Novikov presented an OTT-platform allowing operators to implement new generation interactive TV on a turnkey basis, which will cost them as much as they would spend on IPTV launch. Lifestream’s Management Partner and Business Development Director Zharkyn Tursynov introduced the audience to a cloud solution for operator TV service. Other speakers at this section included: Alexander Gadalov, Head of TV and Media Projects Division, J'son & Partners Consulting, Andrey Kushnarev, Content and Media Director of MegaLabs, Dmitry Ershov, CEO of 3D Media Group, Kazimir Voitkevich, CEO of Intertax, and also President of the Association of Rights Holders Pavel Katkov.

Besides, Broadband Russia Forum 2014 was accompanied by an exhibition, where exponents included: Sagemcom, Optic-Fiber Systems (Rospromsvyaz), Peter-Service, JDSU, Calix, 2Test, Technocom, and Lifestream. Over two days, the forum was attended by more than 350 delegates from 15 countries of the world.



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