The Electronic/Optic Networks Value Chain

Hugo de Groot
  1. On holiday I recently discovered that the famous legal/diplomatic scientist Hugo de Groot aka Grotius 1583-1645 is a family member of mine, through links with the Van Haersolte and Van Panthaleon van Eck families.

One of his greatest achievements is his legal document Mare Liberum (De Vrije Zee = The Open Sea) which still has impact on present Sea Law. In it De Groot for the first time developed the concept of a (mondial=) planetary community, from the idea that the sea should be accessible, so communication between tribes of people can be maintained and hose tribes would not prevent each other to reach overseas coasts. In practice he aimed by defining the Sea “open”, beyond an x-mile zone from the coasts, that ships would have a free passage though narrow straights. You should understand that the Pope in Rome had declared before this book that all seas to the west of Rome would be property of Spain and all seas to the east of Rome to be property of the Portugese kingdom. This was not acceptable to the Provinces of The Netherlands who ran the first multinational company: VOC shipping. Bringing goods and people from port A to B without much interest in going inland. Around that time the King of England declared that all seas of the world where property of England. That is why the Mare Liberum was such a breakthrough in legislation. Beyond the x miles off the coast the captain was the only law. Except that he or she had to report to the ships owners (hence their flag) when coming home to declare his/her decisions and show maps of discovered coasts. And not including flag-less pirates, not to be confused with Privateers (Kapers) merchant vessels who had a contract to attack specific enemy ships.

NL translation from Latin of Mare Liberum

2. Why do I tell you all this? The point is that more and more national governments see that the impact and influence on society, business and politics of Internet is so huge that they have to govern it with national regulations and laws. Despite the fact that these controlaholic public servants do not even know what Internet is and do not know the difference between the ISO-OSI levels of transmission & switching and for instance information services like the WWW, governments compete in their zeal to tame the beast: cybercrime, privacy, cyberwar, AI ethics etc. are turning into complete industries. That is why for instance J.P. Barlow RIP gave his famous lecture in Davos stating simply that “governments have NO JURISDICTION in Cyberspace” since that virtual space resides between the ears of people !

Sure the Internet Society ( and its chapters of able engineers in the construction process of the IETF have defined laws and regulations for things that have to standardised (called requests for comment 🙂 = RFC) worldwide to enable end-to-end communication. All this is based on a number of Network Architectural Rules that must adhered to in order to expand Internet again and again. One of the Fathers of Internet Vinton Cerf has declared several times that these, STILL DEVELOPING rules and regulations, do in fact constitute a modern day Internetum Liberum (The Open Internet) for our present Planetary Community, also known as the Civil Sociey. Maybe a present day Hugo de Groot can be found to write them down in a publishable and understandable (for politicians) form ?

3. It is important to recognize that new PLANETARY patterns are emerging in technology and business that are playing an ever greater role in our lives. You may have noticed that a new hugely successful value chain has developed in our midst, puzzling national politicians and regulators no end. To put it simply; because it is much more complicated, no longer “national” only and evolves and changes daily; that value chain DRIVES LEADING EDGE ELECTRONICS and ICT in the world.

What have these trans-national companies in common? They are the best of the best in their field and employ the most bright and skilled young boys and girls available ( giga nerds , Yes !!!). If you are uncertain where to go after your graduation and are very good at a certain things which gives you satisfaction which can be grown into an obsession…… go talk to one of these companies !!

4. It even goes much deeper. Each of these top class companies has developed into a NETWORK ORGANIZATION.

a. They each have a small group of top class SPECIALISED suppliers. For instance ASML only makes designs and builds an x percentage themselves of the things they put together into very complicated lithography machines. The rest is aquired from the selected specialised suppliers.

b. They maintain extremely high quality standards on what is delivered to them, as well as what they sell.

c. Maintain very strong rules on availability and delivery on promises.

d. co-devellop in open cooperation but with strong enforcement of secrecy to the outside world.

e. Have steep learning curves for all participants, and change & improve at a fast pace. If competitors have copied (parts of) their products and have built factories for mass production of those, they already are going to anounce new deliverable products which are much better in price/performance/energy use.

“Network organizations” are the new trend to be reckoned with. They will spread into society, science and politics sooner than you can imagine, building and enforcing planetary communities, active with creating value for the survival of all of us. They are driven by the 3rd (Reed’s Law; group membership) and 4th (Van Till’s Law; cooperation and collaboration) networking effect, much more powerful than the 1st broadcasting (Sarnoff’s Law) and 2nd (Metcalfe; communication with conversations). The 4th network effect & synergy happens when a network of combinations is made between a diversity of unique contributions. See:

5. It should not surprise you that Network Organisations need very high quality Communication Networks in multple countries to operate, and across borders. This is achieved by long distance optical fiber cable network providers. Such fiber cables have been and are rolled out all over the world as Fiber-to-the-home and FiberTTBusiness digital infrastructures and by way of Internet Exchanges in big cities and Cloud Computer hyperscale processing and datastorage centers. These digital infrastructures are driven by a Dark Fiber (Fibre) Market. Reason when optic fiber cables are installed in trences / ducts/ overhead it makes sense to use cables with many (for instance 92) fibers to have room for future connections. So there are either no fibers available or an abundance from A to B. In that case cable link providers are often willing to lease dark cable pairs (under a IRU rule: Irrefutable Right of Use) to other network companies or for instance university networks for a lower fee.

Map of main digital transmission cables connecting Cities

This is also an area which is booming, where new jobs are created and vast improvements are made by clever young engineers. This field is in a transition from electronic networks –> optic networks which started 40 years ago with the invention of fiber optic cables. All over the ICT field moves are made to replace electrons with photons, which is just gathering light ! Hugo de Groot rules OK ?!

6. Establishing and nurturing EXTERNAL connections and relations should be recognized as vital to survive. Not many people know or want to recognize that a very large part of our culture was developed by discussions between top scientists & court wizzards from Asia, India, Europe, Egypt, Persia gathering together in Central Asia in 800 until the 12th Century. They took long leaves and sabbaticals from the courts of their own kings, under the pretext of having to learn from their collegues top scientists how better to forecast from the observed stars the best days for attaque of the kings armies. See “Lost Enlightenment” – Central Asia’s Golden Age; from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane; S. Frederick Starr.

  • Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects. They gave algebra its name, calculated the earth’s diameter with unprecedented precision, wrote the books that later defined European medicine, and penned some of the world’s greatest poetry. One scholar, working in Afghanistan, even predicted the existence of North and South America―five centuries before Columbus. Rarely in history has a more impressive group of polymaths appeared at one place and time. No wonder that their writings influenced European culture from the time of St. Thomas Aquinas down to the scientific revolution, and had a similarly deep impact in India and much of Asia.
Co-creation with the best

If we want to restart Enlightenment in our day and age I recommend that we start working from the driving forces and synergy of the above mentioned networks on every level which activity i call “CONNEXIO LIBERUM” which is contagious and fruitful for all connected and cooperating participants.

In ICT I forecast a next wave/learning curve based on applications on top of a layer of linked & distributed computers with the help of HoloChain software. For instance in Australia built a user-side devices grid of appliances that can stabilise the local fluctuations of Solar & Wind renewable energy. Including a user – supplier accounting & billing system. Yes, with cars as batteries.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist

PS The “network organization” model also applies to groups/teams within the successful companies. The participants (young engineers etc) are the best of the best. You can compare these teams with for instance world class football (socker) teams. You may have noticed that these are formally national or large city teams but the best specialized players are hired from all over the world irrespective of their place of birth or shoe size, as long as they are the “best of the best” AND can play together as a team. Also the spectators are no longer purely geographical bounded to enforce their cultural identity. Members of the Ajax spectator club are no longer found only in Amsterdam. They are networked too !! Trans-(mental / physical) borders.

((updated June 29, 2022))

About broodjejaap

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1 Response to The Electronic/Optic Networks Value Chain

  1. Rietema, Hans says:

    Jaap, mijn complimenten!
    Een prachtig overzicht van en inzicht in wereld wijde verworvenheden en mogelijkheden internationaal en transnationaal!

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