Europe is no longer the poor relation in the IT world, but in a better position than any other region to win the technology rat race.
This was the message from 3Com chief executive Eric Benhamou in his keynote address to the Networld+Interop show in Paris today - a sharp contrast to the heavy criticisms he has made in the past of 'Fortress Europe'.
Now he claims deregulation and competition, particularly in the wireless world, mean Europe is almost level with the rest of the globe in the information economy.
Benhamou said: ?In 1992 I gave a similar speech in which I described Europe as being Fortress Europe and missing the boat - refusing competition and keeping monopolies. Today Europe is in the running. It has put in place liberalisation measures.?
Europe's stronger position in the global information race is partly down to the problems of other regions though - the economic nightmare in Asia and the stalling of US efforts to open competition in local loop telephony, he explained.
He praised Europe?s success in encouraging competition in the mobile communications industry, where there are at least two operators in each EU country. This contrasts dramatically with the US, where the lack of a single access standard means mobile phones are practically useless if people cross states.
However, Europe?s lack of a robust Internet backbone is a major hindrance to success in ecommerce or IP telephony for European businesses.
Benhamou said: ?The Internet in Europe does not work as well as in the US because the US has a strong backbone for the Internet. In Europe each ISP has its own Internet backbone, which does not talk to the backbones of other ISPs in other countries. Europe needs its own backbone. If you don?t you have unpredictable quality of service and will not be able to drive ecommerce or IP telephony.? For more details on Benhamou?s keynote, see analysis section.
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