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Knotted in net neutrality

The FCC is trying to untie legal knots that hinder its ability to promote and protect an open internet.

It stands by the three rules for net neutrality that it set in 2010. The notice issued on 17 May 2014 canvasses ways it hopes to ensure that its authority to impose rules on interne service providers is secure.

This column, published in Comms Wire on 20 May, explains how it is trying to achieve this and how it may – or may not – affect paid peering.

To read more see Economuse 2014-05-20

Fixed wireless, by-pass and affordability

NBN Co.’s fixed wireless and satellite programme is going to cost $1.7 billion more than expected. This raises the stakes in the issues of universal pricing and efficient by-pass.

There are several complementary methods which would help resolve these issues and this column looks at asset write-downs.

In the context of write-downs, the column also explains how a bigger issue for affordability than regional cross-subsidy (because all customers are affected) is a revenue claw-back scheme that the ACCC has sanctioned.

To read more go to Economuse 2014-05-12

If you have to be dumb, don’t be stupid.

Digitisation is making content independent of carriage. This has opened the way for “over-the-top” provision of services and left carriers wondering if they are going to be left with “dumb pipes”.

The opinion piece published in CommsWire on 30 April, looks at what carriers are doing in response to “the biggest challenge we have today as an industry” (Hugh Bradlow, CTO of Telstra). Tele2 seems to have found the right business model but Telecom NZ (soon to be called Spark) has headed in the wrong direction.

To read more, click on Economuse 2014-04-30

The NBN and infrastructure competition can be compatible

 Infrastructure competition should be welcomed – if it plays its part in making universal broadband service available.

The Labor policy that required mothballing networks that could compete with the NBN to underwrite an internal cross-subsidy was a travesty.

This opinion piece published in CommsWire on 22 April looks at the options that would support both infrastructure competition and universally affordable broadband service.

It concludes that an industry levy would lead to efficient by-pass of the NBN while supporting affordable universal broadband service.

To read more click on Economuse 2014-04-22 (levy)

Submission to the NBN Regulatory Review

This submission suggests that long term affordability and medium term integration with mobility are
more important than the short term issues that have dominated the debate to date (i.e. structural
separation of Telstra, fixed regulation and a focus on short term pricing) in the context of
unrealistically high absolute speeds, and a false assumption of fixed broadband being independent
of mobile.

Australia is at a fork in the development of fast and ubiquitous broadband. It is in danger of taking
the wrong path towards further industry consolidation, higher prices and under-utilisation of an
important national asset. In this “more of the same” scenario, the current NBN Co. pricing and POI
policies continue to support the emerging oligopoly of retailers.

The other fork, or scenario, can still be navigated and leads to greater retail competition, improving
the affordability of access and quicker convergence of broadband communications putting Australia
at the head of global broadband innovation rather than playing a game of catch-up from far behind
in fixed broadband. In this “more innovation” scenario, the brakes are taken off the NBN service,
more affordable entry-level pricing is made possible and opportunities for service innovation are
opened up.

Neither February’s Regulatory Issues Framing Paper (RIFP) nor December’s Strategic Review
explicitly address the impact of the high cost of the NBN (still high after policy changes) on
affordability. The Strategic Review shows that the situation is worse than previously understood and
the culprit is the ACCC approved ICRA which underpins the high CVC charges. Both need to be
replaced. These recommendations are discussed in Section 2.

To read more please click on the link Submission to Vertigan Panel (March 2014)