As someone who's helped a number of companies take their first steps, Peter Cochrane has a nose for a rotten proposition. So why does he see the following, local-loop-busting plan hatched again and again? For a decade now business plans have arrived on my desk, in increasing numbers each year, but only a small percentage find their way to commercial success. Remarkably I see very little correlation between plans. There is, however, a major exception where the same plan seems to arrive on my desk every year. Each time it is presented as revolutionary and ground-breaking. But it is always the same technology and it is always as flawed and as misconceived as the original I first saw a decade ago. News reports often included to amplify the case are along the following lines: XYZ Company is proud to report broadband internet trials are underway using a ground-breaking technology that will revolutionise radio, TV, cable TV, internet and data services to the home. Existing electricity power cable can supply all of your digital services at speeds up to 50Mbits. Extensive laboratory trials have proven this technology, and testing with customers is at an early stage. If fully successful a commercial rollout is planned within the next three months. It is then customary to include a CEO interview that says something along the lines of:
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Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and head of research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning more than 40 years.