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Australia – Few players and no mavericks

This column discusses the importance of disruptive or maverick operators to drive innovation and price competition in mobile and fixed networks. Two days after the attached opinion piece was published in CommsWire, the European Commission supported Ofcom’s decision to block the merger of 3UK and O2; see

The opinion piece below also discusses the lack of competition in Australian mobile and fixed broadband markets. Ofcom’s research suggests that mobile prices may up to 20% higher than they could be in Australia.

For more, see Economuse 2016-05-09

CVCs – Is pricing crippling the NBN?

This week, Bill Morrow announced another tweak to CVC pricing which seems to imply a $1.75 cut in the current $17.50/Mbps CVC price as early as July. But even with this and tiered discounts (for which an implementation date has yet to be announced), CVC costs per end user are going to be double what the sector is looking for.

In the PC world we have seen that bigger chips and improved performance have been closely followed by more sophisticated software that eats up the new capacity. But, we have a chicken and egg situation with the NBN. We know that users are not prepared to pay for speed. Users will not need more speed until the applications require them. And the applications will not arrive until users have the speeds to use them.

We can cut through this impasse and unleash innovation if nbn™ Co. turns on speed with just one or two AVCs (say, up to 100 Mbps and unlimited). It would catapult Australia to the top of global speed ratings. More importantly, Australia would become the global lab for developers looking for ubiquitous, true broadband.

For more details, read Economuse 2016-04 and (same day) COMMUNICATIONS DAY-7-4-2016

CVCs again – this is not the end game

NBN is doing another consultation on CVC pricing with some of its customers. CVC pricing has been a problem for the NBN from the outset and these secretive consultations do not reflect the openness and transparency promised the current management team.
However, enough details have been leaked to make some comments on the latest ideas; which are due to be trialled from April. I just wish it would try the ideas I have been telling it for over 6 years now.

So, here it is: Economuse 2015-11-30

The Future of the USO

On 25 November, ACCAN (the peak consumer body for telecommunications in Australia) released an Occasional Paper on the future of the universal service policy in Australia. That paper is on the Publications page ACCAN-USO

The CEO, Teresa Corbin, was kind enough to say:

“John (de Ridder) provided us with an analysis of options for a future universal service policy in Australia. It proved to be thought-provoking and will be very helpful for our work going forward.” – Teresa Corbin, CEO, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)

Since the concepts of availability, accessibility and affordability were enshrined around 40 years ago in the obligation on Telstra to provide a standard telephone service that meet these principles, a lot has changed. Mobiles are now the preferred means of communication and access to broadband on both fixed and broadband networks has become essential.

The need to revise USO policy is widely recognised; the Shiff Regional Telecommunications Review last month being the most recent example.

Six options are discussed in the Occasional Paper but the two most promising are the subject of this column at Economuse 2015-11-25