Tuesday, April 11, 2006


This is the Editor/Publisher, Gerald Brown reporting from Europe, hence the reason for the period of some days the Digital Broadcasters Vendor News blog has not been transmitting.

I am reporting from sunny Greece where, by the way, the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 comes from Athens in late May.

It may surprise readers to know that Greece has actually the most advanced physical telephone network in the EU.

This I mention because the broadband DSL connections, don't work, where I am staying, which is just 5kms from the local telephone exchange. So it is 56K dial up and all that.

A Depressing fact. OTE the national telecomms provider is a sad monolith where Broadband ADSL staff tell you bluntly: "No DSL? that is someone else's problem". It is a company where staff tell you, it is you who have report the technical problem to their fellow OTE department when all departments access the same information on the same network of computer terminals. They will not do it, even though it is to the benefit to their own company to do so. So much for being user friendly. I am not saying the staff are rude. They are not. They now even speak in English which they simply refused to do as recently as four years ago.

Wouldn't it be sensible for OTE to leapfrog fixed line technology and go "wi-fi"?

What is that? I was asked by the local telephone technician....

There you go!

This is still Europe and the EU. It is though a world apart from Northern Europe!

Greece is great for a holiday. The Greeks enjoy life too much. Hence the reason they are the biggest per capita spenders in dining out, in the whole of the European Community.

Forget what you saw with the Athens Olympics in 2004. They were great and wonderful and so is Athens. But Greece is more than Athens.

Until there is a seismic shift in core values in government and quasi government organisations staff members, I suggest there are easier places to make investments and money in the EU and beyond.

And now back to my glass of wine and downloading more emails on the Asian digital broadcasting industry to bring the leading Asian broadcasting blog up-to-date.

Before I receive irate emails from you, and as a post script -- let me point out that the Greeks get as frustrated with their bureaucracy as any one else! So why don't they fix the problem? Who knows?

1 comment:

yiapap said...

Hi Gerald,
I hope you had a good time in Athens.

The situation with the Greek telecommunications is far worst than you describe.

However, it amazes me that you have managed to pinpoint the problem that the Greek governmentS refuse to accept in just a few days!
On the other hand you may consider yourself lucky that you didn't receive the luxurious ADSL line. First of all it costs around 55€ per month (~$61) for 1Mbps (hence luxurious).
Plus, in any case, you wouldn't have enough time left to enjoy it, as the whole process from your signature to the line being activated takes around 2-3 weeks. IF you're lucky. Otherwise you can go to the end of the 15,000 pending ADSL subscribers queue.

And if by some miracle you managed to secure such a line, you would then have to deal with the congestion. Yes, this is a usual story, but the weird thing is that here the congestion is primarily within OTE's private optic-fibre ATM network! Yep! The Greek ISPs have comfortable connections to the international backbones but OTE's local exchanges (DSLAMs) are not being allocated enough bandwidth to the main exchange (BBRAS).

"Why?" Pfff! I thought you'd know better than to ask why:
"Why not!"

In any case, why would anyone need that extreme 1Mbps bandwidth for? We only want to download our emails, surf the web and talk to a few partners using voip, right?
No, wrong again unfortunately...
You see, OTE's exchanges appear to have a dislike at applications that need many packets per second (pps). And so, under some conditions, you cannot exceed 20-30pps, when every voip application needs at least 50 to work at low quality.

Go wireless? Ha! Have you seen how much steel reinforced concrete exists in Athens (and all the cities)? Try connecting anything wi-fi to cover 2-3 of an 7-story block of flats!
Wi-Max and then cable for the appartments? Well of course! The only problem is that the temporary permits for Wi-Max need a 2,000,000€ bank letter of guarantee and my overdraft limit is a tad below that. Oh, wait! Greek banks don't offer overdraft to normal accounts!

And if... Ah, forget it! This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on forever!

In any case...
Why do we need, fast, cheap ,reliable internet connections when we have such splendid places to dine out?

Sincere apologies for the length of this comment.

If anoyone needs additional info or help on
"broadband connections" and "Greece" or
"productivity" and "Greek State-owned companies" or
"dark" and "light" or
any other contradicting terms,
you can always visit the largest Greek forum about Broadband in Greece at http://www.adslgr.com.
If it's all Greek to you, post any qusetion in English. There's always someone who will answer it ;)