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SafetyNet – Beyond Mobile Roaming

Rural and remote areas will continue to struggle to keep up with urban telecommunications despite the progress that has been made with initiatives such as the Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP) and the NBN fixed wireless and satellite. A more radical approach is needed as we consider updating the Universal Service Obligation, public safety network options and mobile roaming. Instead of more expensive small gains at the margin, or counter productive roaming arrangements, we should take a large step forward by having the Commonwealth, States and MNOs work together.

To read more, click Economuse 2017-2-03-safety net


I have had the good fortune to work with Bob James (we developed the TransAct NBN Mark I business case) and Robin Eckermann (the Australian father of FTTN – 10 years ahead of the Commonwealth).

We have developed the idea attached; which could be a game changer for rural and remote customers. The concept is novel but not rocket science. Aceptance and execution will be tricky.


Time to test $300m pa for USO?

This one page Economuse draws attention to the $3oom pa paid to Telstra for the “copper continuity obligation”, which maintains fixed copper services outside the NBN fixed network footprint. It suggests that changes to the definition of the USO and the growing availability of mobile services mean that there may be savings possible in a renegotiated contract. See Economuse 2016-07-14

Productivity Commission – Submission on USO

The Productivity Commission is taking submissions on the policy for the universal service obligation (USO). Submissions are due by 21 July. The draft report is expected in December with a final report to the Commonwealth bu April 2017.

My thoughts on the future of the USO are expressed at length in my Occasional Paper for ACCAN (see my publications page). But, I have submitted some key point in this 3 page submission USO-Prod.Com.July-2016

The NBN and competitive neutrality

In my previous column, I said I would explain how the discount rate might be set for a company with neither debt nor equity. The NBN is not quite the same but the same solution was used for it both by the ACCC and the BCR. Combining that information with the BCR’s estimate of the economic loss that the NBN incurs in supplying fixed wireless and satellite services, I find that that there is some evidence that the NBN is breaching competitive neutrality – i.e. competing unfairly. This issue was first raised by the NBN’s competitors in greenfield fibre sites and the issue is likely to arise again.

The most logical solution, it seems to me, is to write-down assets (and the corresponding amounts in the ICRA) so that the overall internal rate of return becomes commercial.

For more, see Economuse 2016-06-06