BBH Report Home Page
November 24, 2002 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Your Voice -- Readers' Comments


Stephen Davies wrote to ask: "Is the "Broadband Home" newsletter intended to be US-centric? I was amazed to read an article about digital radio in the Broadband Home newsletter which didn't make even a mere mention of the standard and internationally accepted "DAB" Digital Audio Broadcasting system. DAB is in commercial use in many countries, and in testing in many more. In total more than 40 countries are currently using or testing DAB.

"On a recent trip in Europe my DAB car-radio received digital radio in almost every country through which I passed: UK, Natherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. provides some background and links. Another interesting "rest of the world" digital radio technology is DRM - Digital Radio Mondiale - which provides digital audio broadcasting on medium- and short-wave. DRM is still a way from commercialisation, though. "

Sandy replies: Mea culpa. We know better--we've used and appreciated DAB when driving in the UK. Thanks for reminding us that one drawback of living in the US is our tendency to fall into a myopic view, because our island is so big. Thanks for keeping us honest. We noted a recent article saying that demand for the Evoke, latest DAB digital radio in the UK, is outstripping supply. One Web listing for the Pure Evoke-1 says "as the radio is in high demand, it may not be possible for you to place an order, due to changing stock levels and the sheer number of people trying to secure a radio. We suggest you try the site every day." ( ) ( )

HomePlug in Europe

Several readers have asked whether HomePlug powerline networking adapters could be used in Europe, and we were glad to hear from Brian Lasslett of LANergy:

"LANergy Limited ( is a company based in the United Kingdom developing products for home networking. In January 2002 LANergy launched a range of powerline bridge/adapters for home networking and broadband distribution in the home. These products are available worldwide ... The LANergy powerline adapters are both FCC and CE (European) approved. They are also available with both 110V and 220V operation.

"The LANergy Appian Powerline Adapter is a fully managed two port (Ethernet & USB) bridge, supporting simultaneous operation of both ports. ... We also have a PCI card.

"The chipset we are using is from Cogency."

Brian has promised us a couple of LANergy devices as part of our continuing test series on HomePlug.

US Protectionism?

In a long email dialog, Knut Flottorp of Norway has expressed the strong sense that the US is more protectionist than Europe while claiming the opposite. To widen the dialog, we've excerpted two of his emails. We would be interested in the reactions of other readers, especially those outside the US, as to how closely Knut's thoughts are shared by others.

Knut wrote: "You did not understand how I could claim US 'Protectionalism' and favourers of own industry. Read attached reference document, know that CDMA was invented long before GSM - and was considered and rejected when the GSM network air interface was defined.

  • He attached an excerpt from the paper "Information and Telecommunications Protocols: Modeling and Policy Analysis" (authors from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University): "The protectionist European model has failed in front of the competitive U.S. model. It is now time for European carriers to catch up, and prepare for the next big challenge: international competition, from which they were until now relatively protected."

Knut: "The Truth: The European model has been open to free competition from 1992 - on everything - even the air interface. Not one operator has even seen the need to elaborate on the US technology. Every operator are used to international cut-throat competition that is non-existent in US. The US market is now highly regulated and impossible to penetrate with 'foreign technology'. In Europe, the markets have been fully accessible for foreign technologies, where the US has been 'licked'. 'Domestic' mergers are not an indicator of a free and functioning market - that is like compares to Stalin's confiscation of the local industries in the old Soviet union. ...

"As long as the US federal agencies let reports of such non-critical nature be distributed it may be viewed as lack of critical science in the US - or a pathetic attempt to promote own industry and discredit all competing technologies. ...

"I fought my battle at the Shanghai Airport with the representatives for the FCC. They where on an IS delegation ready to explain that CDMA network superiority. The problem was that they were unaware that GSM had already been deployed in China. They were unaware that I could dial my operator in Norway from Shanghai. They were unaware that I could hit an internet site from a mobile handset, They were unaware that I could read my email with a handset. They were unaware that a telephone existed with full Internet browsing capabilities. They were unaware that I was charged reasonable in Norway for calls placed in China. Bottom line: they were ignorant - and they did not care less - they even then tried to utter 'but CDMA is better'. And they will keep on shouting that the acronym is better."

In another email following our article on replacing the radio in Sandy's car, Knut wrote "Tell Sandy that she is lucky to have a Supra, (it is a good car!) with a twin size DIN slot for the car audio. Thank the Germans for that. If she had an American car, e.g. a Ford, she would have to change the entire car - or replace with original "Delco". ...

"This is one of the fundamental differences between the US and Europe: You focus on 'Strategic Alliances' on the golf course, while Europeans focus on engineers presenting the ideas as an international standard. Like the size of a car radio, and which connectors should be provided. Or the functionality of a large network. The result is that in the US you do not care less what happens once you have to go beyond the alliance. You have numerous broadband protocols, about one per provider, making acquisition of a competitor not only to obtain his customer base - but also to be able to expand your customer base with your technology making this cheaper to all. That this is expensive is known and hidden as 'infrastructure costs' in the merger."

Rollover Glossary

A note from Rick Loughery said: "Just want to say - that I really enjoy the HTML format version - the rollover definitions are extremely convenient versus clicking to another link. Thanks."

Our Webmaster, Dave (also co-editor and CTO of Broadband Home Labs, etc.) thanks Rick for letting us know that someone has noticed and likes that feature. Please continue letting us know what works -- and doesn't --from your perspective.