Paul Budde

Paul Budde

Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication
Joined on February 4, 2009 – Australia
Total Post Views: 859,158

About

Paul Budde is the managing director of Paul Budde Communication (trading as BuddeComm), a global independent telecommunications research and consultancy company, which includes 45 national and international researchers in 15 countries.

His website (www.budde.com.au) has 2,000 research reports covering 170 countries, 400 companies and 200 technologies and applications. The company operates what is believed to be the largest telecommunications research service on the Internet and has over 3,000 customers in 80 different countries.

Paul is frequently interviewed on radio and television current affairs and news programs, as well as by the leading national and international financial and business press. He is quoted in company prospectuses and his knowledge of the industry is a valuable resource at the governmental level. He provides strategic advice on telecoms and digital economy policies to governments on three continents.

For more information on Strategic Workshops and Roundtables please click here.

Featured Blogs

Most of the Time Common Sense Eventually Prevails

I have learned that lesson many times over. In many of the issues that we are facing, as a society or in our industry, I am reasonably confident that common sense will eventually prevail. Sometimes the road twists and turns, but in the end water flows around rocks. In our industry I can refer to developments we have been advocating for (structural separation, utilities-based telecoms infrastructure, broadband for social and economic benefits, ICT-based industry and sector transformation, FttH, internet as a tool for more direct democracies, etc). more»

Banks Under e-Pressure

Back in the early 1980s we witnessed the launch of the first e-payments systems by French banks in Biarritz. A similar project was launched in Japan and a year or so later Berlin also launched their pilot service. In Biarritz the whole town received smartcards and all the shops were given devices to handle e-cash. Over the next 30 years very little happened -- nowhere did banks build on this initiative to take a leadership role in e-payments. more»

Content - The Next Regulatory War Zone

At the 2014 TelSoc Charles Todd Oration the former Chair of the ACCC, Graeme Samuel, warned against the looming content monopoly... "There is a constant risk that the exclusive tie-up of rights to content for new and emerging markets will allow the right holders to shut out competition across a wide range of services delivered over new networks." He didn't think that the current telcos have the right expertise to enter the content market... more»

Scaremongering from Spy Agents

In an article for the Financial Times, Mr Hannigan -- the chief of the British spy agency GCHQ said: "I understand why they [US technology companies] have an uneasy relationship with governments. They aspire to be neutral conduits of data and to sit outside or above politics." "But increasingly their services not only host the material of violent extremism or child exploitation, but are the routes for the facilitation of crime and terrorism."... more»

Can Mobile Operators Afford a Mobile-Only Strategy?

With 4G rollouts in many developed mobile markets reaching completion, it might be time to check the balance of the state of the mobile industry. Looking at campaigns around the world it is clear that what you see are 'me too' strategies. The advertising campaigns and the marketing hyperbole around them might suggest that a particular operator has now done something unique or very special, but if one looks beyond the advertising blurb it is clear that the campaign is nothing new and/or that what is on offer can be very easily matched by their competitors in the market. more»

Data Mining - The Next Driver of Mobile Revenue

I have often argued that in both the fixed and the mobile telecoms markets the actual telecoms element is a utility -- a utility that allows for an enormous range of new services, new business models and new applications. For this reason the argument for more than a decade (since 2002 to be precise) has been that structural separation of the vertically-integrated telecom model is needed in order to unleash the huge potential of telecoms. If that doesn't happen technologies will be applied that allow the users to bypass the barriers set up by the telcos to protect their utility.  more»

Mobile Consolidation Is Unavoidable

Despite its absolute success in providing competition to the telecoms market, infrastructure-based competition in the mobile market is now also reaching its final stages. We have been predicting this for some time; we did so in order to highlight the need to change to different business models in the industry -- models with more emphasis on infrastructure-sharing and competition based on new innovative services rather than on utility offerings... more»

UN Broadband Commission 2.0

Back in late 2009 I had the honour of explaining my views on how broadband can deliver social and economic benefits to countries and their people to Dr Hamadoun Touré the Secretary-General (SG) of the ITU, the UN body looking after global telecoms. He showed a particular interest in the initiative Australia had taken in developing the NBN. This discussion with the SG led to the establishment in 2010 of the UN Broadband Commission, co-sponsored by UNESCO and the ITU. Dr Touré invited 50 Commissioners from around the world to participate in this initiative, half of them from private industry. more»

Not World War III - This Time the ICT Revolution

In the past it has been wars and revolutions that created major changes in society. It was only after these events that old ideas, structures and doctrines gave way. And in many countries wars and revolutions are still functioning as a tool for change -- the Arab Revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Empire are good examples of this. But wars and revolutions are disruptive in an economic sense, cost the lives of many people, and necessitate costly rebuilds after the even more»

State of Broadband Report 2014

Last Sunday I attended the 10th meeting of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development in New York, where we launched this new report -- State of Broadband Report 2014. Here are some of the highlights of the report. Over 50% of the global population will have Internet access within three years' time, with mobile broadband over smartphones and tablets now the fastest growing technology in human history, according to the 2014 edition of the State of Broadband report. more»

Triple Challenge of Network Transformation

Following my comments about the iPhone VoLTE announcement I had an interesting conversation with Andy Huckridge from Gigamon, a company that provides intelligent traffic visibility networking solutions for enterprises, datacentres and service providers around the globe. An interesting concept that we discussed was the 'triple challenge of network transformation'. The three elements of this challenge are... more»

iPhone 6 VoLTE Will Disrupt the Mobile Industry

As far back as 2011 we predicted that Apple would eventually enter the voice market. We indicated at that time that it was just a matter of time -- in the end it took another three years... While it didn't happen at Christmas that year the company is now ready and will use the VoLTE service to enter this market, which will make it possible to replace Telstra with any other mobile operator around the world... he telcos are not ready for this. While they should be seen as the leaders in the voice call market they are too preoccupied with protecting their traditional business and it is companies like Apple and Samsung who are now leading the charge. more»

M2M Hype and Reality

There are many predictions that the next big wave in telecoms is M2M and that this will be the next growth market for the telecoms industry. There is no doubt that M2M is a revolutionary development, but we need to separate the hype from the reality. In order to do this it is best to divide the major developments into two main areas, although there is no doubt that others will emerge over time. One area is the sensors that are being installed in networks such as electricity, the environment, roads and other infrastructure. more»

Where Should the Telcos Jump Next?

With declining revenues now across all of the major revenue segments -- something in the order of $25 billion worldwide -- it is 2 minutes to 12 and the industry needs to act. Unlike previous situations, this time there is no large money-spinner around the corner for the telcos, such as we saw in previous situations when broadband and mobile came to the rescue. more»

Telecoms - Where Will the Money Come From?

With the arrival of mobile saturation stagnation is occurring in telecoms revenue growth in most developed telecoms markets. Voice traffic is increasingly moving onto IP-based systems, which are either free or at very low cost to its users. This is taking place on both the fixed and mobile networks. While in the case of corporate and government organisations nearly all fixed voice traffic has moved to IP-based systems, in the SME and consumer market this has not been the case. more»

Wireless Broadband vs Fixed Broadband - The Story Continues

This never-ending story is used by opportunistic telcos and their lobbyists to confuse the issue in order to gain regulatory or political advantage. The debate is now raging again in the USA. In an attempt to talk down their monopolistic position in the market the three telcos - and this time in particular, Comcast - are claiming that real competition does in fact exist in the American broadband market, citing competition from the mobile 4G LTE services as an example. more»

Net Neutrality Undermining Spreads to Developing Countries

After the USA set the bad example of allowing telcos to start charging different rates for content delivery services, other incumbent telcos elsewhere are only too happy to jump on the bandwagon and use the American example as a reason and an excuse to end net neutrality (NN) in their countries also. As did their American counterparts they too see this as another way to grab some extra monopolistic income. more»

The Next New Media: Typewriters and Handwritten Letters

Who would have thought that typewriters and handwritten letters would ever be back in fashion? But back in 2013 it was reported that Russia was buying large quantities of typewriters. When this was further investigated the country denied that this was for security reasons. Since the Snowden revelations there has been a further rush on typewriters, both by government officials and by a range of, mainly corporate, businesses. more»

Let American Telcos and Cablecos Merge - But Declare Infrastructure a Utility

While there is much discussion in the United States about the mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and of AT&T and DirectTV, issues such as this are generally discussed from a very narrow perspective and, we maintain, from the wrong underlying telecoms regime operating in that country - one that has stifled competition in the telecoms for nearly two decades. The same wrong parameters apply to the endless debates on net neutrality an issue that is, by the way, largely of significance to the US market alone. more»

The Demand and Supply Imbalance in Telecoms

You can't open a newspaper today, listen to the radio, or watch TV without hearing about the enormous explosion in the use of telecommunications technology - be it fixed or mobile broadband, the internet, social media, smartphones, tablets, wearables, IoT, cloud computing, the list is endless... Yet, at the same time, many telcos and ISPs are struggling to maintain their profitability. This defies economic logic. more»

Market-Led Demand for FttH Is Picking Up

With more than 100 countries now involved in the rollout of FttH there is increased evidence that commercial demand exists for this infrastructure. In developed economies FttH demand will, over the next 5 years, grow to between 30%-50% of the population. Competition aimed at the top end of this market will trigger a broader rollout. A Bernstein study of Google's rollout of FttH in Kansas City concluded that the penetration measured by them was much higher than they had expected. more»

Positive Outlook for Investments in Backbones

When talking about the problems of attracting infrastructure funds to the telecoms industry, I would make one exception; that is backbone infrastructure... We increasingly describes mobile networks as fibre networks with a wireless access component. This clearly indicates the need for fixed backbone network capacity, eventually all the way to the street. more»

The Two Sides of Net Neutrality

Over the last decade or so the telecoms industry has been at loggerheads with the content providers and distributors (OTT companies) regarding the use of the infrastructure by the OTT players. On one side we have the people arguing for net neutrality (leave the OTT players alone), and on the other we have the telcos wanting to charge certain players for using their network. The whole issue came to a head, when in mid April the FCC decided to allow telecom operators (or ISPs as they are called in the USA) to charge content providers for higher quality services. more»

Peering and Interconnection Key to a Competitive American Telecoms Market

Peering has come back in the news with the FCC mentioning it in its set of reviews of the telecommunications market in the USA, following its Network Neutrality decision. The peering and interconnect issues are going to the heart of the telecoms matter in relation to competition, innovation and the Open Network. You don't need Network Neutrality rules, if you have a well functioning, transparent, interoperable and competitive infrastructure environment. more»

Telecoms Still Not Seen As Good Infrastructure Investment

It is interesting that when governments and financial investors, such as superannuation funds, talk about infrastructure investments and infrastructure investment funds they rarely include telecommunications in their deliberations... Most politicians and infrastructure investors have problems seeing telecoms infrastructure in that context. From a visionary and strategic aspect one could argue that, at a political level at least, telecoms should be seen as, and included in any policies on, national infrastructure. more»

Internet Governance Back in the Limelight

In my special role as adviser to the UN Broadband Commission I reported extensively in 2013 on the WCIT-12 conference in Dubai. Unfortunately the world disagreed on a way forward in relation to internet governance. However, despite all the grandstanding of the USA and its western allies, simply ignoring it and saying "there is no room for governments to be involved in internet governance" - will not make the issue go away. more»

The Rise and Rise of Broadband in China

While there are plenty of articles continuously updating us on the incredible social and economic developments that are taking place in China it is still sometimes good to stand still and have a look at some of these developments. It was 15 years ago that the Chinese Government - in its 5-year plan - stated that it wanted to connect all of its half million villages to the telecommunications network. At that point the plan simply called for narrowband telephone connections. more»

Aligning Broadband and Healthcare

For many years I have been saying that in order to generate business cases that will support the developments of national broadband networks it is necessary to take into account the social and economic benefits of such investments. The reality is that these benefits do not show up on the balance sheets of the traditional telecoms infrastructure companies and this is a key reason they are reluctant to make such investments. more»

The Seriously Flawed American Telecoms Market

The recent decision regarding the end of Network Neutrality (NN) in the USA is based on a totally flawed telecoms policy. Once the foundation of a telecoms 'house' is fundamentally wrong, whatever is built on top of that will basically collapse at a certain point. The market fundamentals in the USA are so wrong that any initiative to improve broadband access, fibre roll-outs, infrastructure competition or telecoms and transactor innovation, will either fail or have a minimal impact. more»

Google's Acquisition of Nest and Smart Homes

Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of high-tech thermostat and smoke-detector maker Nest Labs will allow the company to further infiltrate people's lives, not just via their smartphones but now also via a range of home appliances. It is a logical development for the digital media giant and based on their record of innovation we can expect a range of interesting products and services, also known as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and the Internet of Things (IoT), to enter this market. more»

Broadband and Household Income

Both broadband access and broadband speed positively affect household incomes, according to an analysis by Ericsson in conjunction with Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. This study is a continuation of earlier work by these partners on the impact of broadband. The earlier research concerned broadband's effects on the gross domestic product of entire countries; this study, "Socioeconomic Effects of Broadband Speed: a Microeconomic Investigation," examines the effects on individual households. more»

Developed Economies Not Ready for an ICT-Driven Recovery

Some interesting but disturbing messages are emanating from Europe and America. With countries slowly coming out of the economic crisis and employment picking up again, it has become clear that the new jobs becoming available are driven by companies operating in the digital economy; very few of the 'old jobs' will become available. Many people in western countries are unprepared for this change and many new skills that are required are simply not available in sufficient numbers to counter the downfall in employment that has occurred over the last five years. more»

Internet Is Transforming Governments and Politics

All round the world we are seeing massive social changes in the way people interact with their leaders and with their political elite. In many cases governments and politicians seem to be behaving as though they are immune to the changes that are following on from these new grassroots-based democratic processes. They often do mention reforms and recommend reforms, but there is an equal need for them to transform their own sector and their own way of conducting politics and government. This applies to both the political leaders in developed and the developing economies. more»

Global Technical Internet Related Issues That Need Fixing

Given its engineering background, many positive contributions can be made by the engineering community in the broader ICT world to assist in addressing some of the broader internet issues, often addressed within the more limited telecoms environment.. Of course some of this is already happening; however much more work would be needed to strengthen the technical foundations of the internet. Just as an example, the type of issues that could be addressed by a broader ICT engineering foundation could include... more»

The Rapidly Changing Governance Environment of International Telecoms

Late last year I participated in the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-2012) in Dubai, organised by the UN agency the ITU. I reported extensively on that event, which was aimed at updating the International Telecommunications Regulations... From the outset there were several reasons WCIT might fail, not the least of which was the fact that the various technological, political and regulatory issues facing the new much broader telecoms environment were not sufficiently separated and so could not be addressed in a rational and systematic manner. more»

Telecoms as a Spying Tool

With more and more stories coming in from all over the world about the prolific use of telecommunications to spy on what people are doing, the ball has been thrown back into the industry's court, to do something about it. In principle, ever since telecoms came into existence in the 1850s spying was high on the agenda of the people who started to use the new technology. In 1865 countries formed the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). This later became the first institution under the UN and all countries in the world are a member. more»

VDSL Cabinet Consideration for FttN Roll Outs

Australia will be an interesting test market for VDSL. With a new government and the broadband infrastructure company NBN Co basically in agreement, it is most likely that VDSL will be used to bring for example fast broadband to multi-dwelling units (MDUs). It was mainly for political reasons that the previous government stopped NBN Co deploying the VDSL technology in MDUs for this purpose. Whether or not any more VDSL will be deployed beyond that will largely depend on the NBN Co review of its current plan.  more»

Mobiles Moving Into Fixed Networks

There are often confused reports in the media about mobile and fixed broadband, with arguments that one could replace the other. Yet the reality is that they coexist and complement each other - perhaps even more so since one cannot manage without the other. Increasingly, devices such as smartphones, tablets and smart TVs are at the end of fixed lines, with a wireless (WiFi) connection between the fixed line and the device. more»

Telecoms a Double-Edged Sword for the Industry

The telecommunications business is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it is an enormous growth industry because of its function as a key facilitator in the transformation of societies and economies towards a future that is driven more and more by ICT developments. Over the last decade companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Facebook have made it to the list of the most successful businesses... On the other hand many of the traditional telco businesses operating in this market are recording declining results. more»

Travelogue Broadband Experiences

Throughout this year I have once again travelled extensively through USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Naturally, being in this industry I watch closely the various developments in broadband, mobile and WiFi. When you are travelling obtaining access is never far from one's mind. This also provides good opportunities to compare what is available, where, what the quality is, and so on. Looking back over many years there is no doubt that, no matter where you travel, there has been incredible progress. more»

How Safe is FttH?

My blog 'What PRISM, credit card hacking and Chromecast have to do with FttH' led to some very interesting discussions all around the world. One of issues that was discussed was that the sheer capacity of FttH will also allow hackers, criminals and others to use that massive capacity for the wrong reasons. Its volume will make it increasingly difficult to police. more»

Chromecast Set to Revolutionise the TV

The principle behind Chromecast is probably the magic formula that is needed to finally revolutionise television watching. Google's latest product was launched yesterday... TV revolution didn't come from the traditional broadcasters or their suppliers. Everything developed by them has been aimed more at protecting their traditional business than at looking for completely new opportunities - truly new TV innovations will most certainly come from the direction that the broader market has taken since the arrival of the smartphones and the tablets. more»

How to Manage and Secure Big Data

Several developments are coming together in cloud computing that are creating shockwaves throughout society and in the economy. Over the last five years we have seen the debate about cloud computing hotting up. There was the hype around the new development at the same time as warnings regarding security and privacy, and for a while the market seemed subdued about the new development. However the economic reality of cloud computing meant that enterprises and government bureaucracies had little choice but to move ahead with cloud computing... more»

The Bandwidth Bank

This is a topic that we have discussed on several occasions over the last decade, but it now seems as though things are slowly moving forward. A new company, Intabank, has set up a service whereby its enterprise customers can pool bandwidth that the intermediate company can then use to sell to other customers; enabling organisations to monetise their network connectivity assets. more»

Urgent Need to Revisit Internet Governance (WCIT-12)

Developments over the past few months - and especially the revelations about the spying work of the NSA on friendly governments and their people and businesses - show how important it is to try and establish some high-level strategies relating to managing the governance of the internet. While companies like Google have been lobbying hard against WCIT-12 - basically because they are opposed to any government interference in the internet - the reality is that, clearly without their knowledge, their own American government through the NSA is already directly interfering in their network. more»

FCC Change of Chairman: Opportunities to Advance Telecoms in America

It is always the case that change brings with it new opportunities, and the change in the FCC chair will be no exception to this rule. But we have learned since President Obama came to power that we should not have too high an expectation of such a change. In my discussions with the US Administration, the White House and the FCC I have never come across any major disagreement about my views on the future of telecommunications. more»

The Issue of Market-Initiated Competition in Telecoms

Many political discussions are taking place all over the world about how to best stimulate national or provincial telecommunications infrastructure investments against the background of current market dynamics. In this context the question often revolves around whether there is a market failure and, if so, does the government have a role to play here to address the matter, or can it be left for the market to sort out. more»

The Pros and Cons of Vectoring

Vectoring is an extension of DSL technology that employs the coordination of line signals to reduce crosstalk levels to improve performance. It is based on the concept of noise cancellation: the technology analyses noise conditions on copper lines and creates a cancelling anti-noise signal. While data rates of up to 100Mb/s are achievable, as with all DSL-based services this is distance related: the maximum available bit rate is possible at a range of about 300-400 meters. more»

America Closing Down Its Copper Network - So What's Next?

We have reported in the past on the rapid decline of the copper telecoms network in the USA. A decade ago BuddeComm predicted that it would be impossible to move two customer access networks in parallel towards the new fibre future, the one operated by the telcos and the other operated by the cable companies. At that stage we indicated that a possible outcome could be that the telcos would upgrade their networks to FttH and that the cable companies would become the key tenants on that network. more»

Tom Wheeler - New FCC Chairman

After a political and administrative process of more than a month Tom Wheeler has finally been nominated by President Obama as the new chairman of the FCC with the full support of Congress. Unlike other regulators around the world the FCC is directly accountable to the American Congress, making it a far more political body than most other regulators. I have known Tom since 1983. He is an enormously energetic person and has been involved in the ICT industry for most of his working life, holding very senior positions within the American industry. more»

Why Most Discussions for Fibre Optic Infrastructure Take Place from the Wrong Perspective

Fibre-based infrastructure requires vision and recognition of the fact that many of today's social, economic and sustainability problems can only be solved with the assistance of information and communications technology (ICT). In many situations the capacity, robustness, security and quality necessary for this calls for fibre optic infrastructures. This need will increase dramatically over the next 5 to 10 years as industries and whole sectors (healthcare, energy, media, retail) carry out the process of transforming themselves in order to much better address the challenges ahead. more»

Will LTE Steal the Broadband Revolution?

There is no doubt that LTE is going to take a prime position in broadband developments. With competitively priced services, innovative smartphones and an increasing range of very innovative apps this market is set to continue to boom. So how will all this impact the overall broadband market? ...this is not an 'us or them' issue between fixed and mobile broadband. As a matter of fact, the companies that are rolling out LTE are increasingly dependent on deep fibre rollouts as they need to handle massive amounts of data, to which the mobile infrastructure technology is not well-suited. more»

Questions About the Robustness of Mobile Networks

With mobile phones having become a utility, people are beginning to rely completely on mobile services for a large range of communications. All mobile users, however, are aware of some level of unreliability in these phone systems. Blackspots remain all around the country, not just outside the cities, and in busy areas the quality of the service goes down rather quickly. Drop-outs are another fairly common occurrence of mobile services. more»

Observations in and Around the UN Broadband Commission

The 7th meeting of the UN Broadband Commission in Mexico City was again a good combination of announcements about new plans, results of previously undertaken activities, and views on the future of broadband. Very noticeable was the enthusiasm and acknowledgement of the impact of ICT, and of broadband in particular. In September 2012 the Commission launched its working group on gender equality. Research undertaken by the various members of the workgroup provided somewhat similar results. more»

Fiber to the Home: 'Awesome' - But What Is Its Purpose?

Two approaches can be taken towards the development of Fiber to the Home (FttH). One is all about its commercial potential - the sale of the most awesome commercial applications in relation to video entertainment, gaming and TV. The other is a perhaps more sophisticated approach - from the perspective of social and economic development. Of course the two are not mutually exclusive. more»

Technology Fights Against Extreme Poverty

One of the good things about participating in the meetings of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development is seeing the amazing impact our industry has on the daily lives of literally billions of people. While everybody - including us - is talking about healthcare, education and the great applications that are becoming available in these sectors, the real revolution is taking place at a much lower level. more»

The End of HFC and FttN Networks is Approaching

In the global telecoms industry, it looks as though 2013 will be remembered as the year when construction of new greenfield HFC networks came to a halt. Of course, there will still be upgrades to existing networks but the cost of fibre deployment -- linked to its much lower operational cost -- is now convincing cablecos and telcos alike to build new fibre networks wherever possible. This is not necessarily directly driven by customer demand, but by network costs and network efficiencies. more»

Broadband - The American Way

There have been some interesting discussions recently regarding the status of broadband in the USA. On the one hand there are those who maintain that most people have access to high-speed networks, in particular HFC services based on the DOCSIS 3.0 standard. Theoretically, the standard can deliver speeds of 100Mb/s, or higher, but in practice most customers subscribe to, or have access to, far lower speeds. more»

WCIT-12 Disappoints, More Work to Be Done

In the end it was a disappointment that the treaty on International Telecommunications regulations (ITRs) that had been under negotiation for two weeks at WCIT-12 was not acceptable to 55 countries, and that, as a consequence, these countries did not sign the final version of the international treaty (89 did sign). After two weeks of sometimes fractious negotiation - 1,275 proposals were discussed in all - the contentious issues were significantly watered down. However the dissenting countries felt that the key issue - anything in relation to the internet - should not be included at all and, quite correctly, did not compromise on that. more»

WCIT - So Far So Good - Recap of Week One

So far the world has survived WCIT-12 and the internet has not been taken over by anybody. So, in the end, what was all the fuss about? Those who have followed my reporting on these issues from the very beginning more than a year ago - long before the media frenzy on this topic started - will have seen that we never took the sensational approach. We fully understood the issues that were emerging, but at the same time we could also place them in the right context, to explore how they should be addressed. more»

WCIT's Security Issues

Another contentious issue at the WCIT in Dubai is 'security'. There has been a dramatic increase in nervousness regarding a whole range of security issues, especially in relation to the internet. They include: SPAM, denial-of-service-attacks, identity theft, cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and privacy issues on social media. From the list above it is clear that some of these issues are related to content, while some can be classified as national security and others as criminal offences. In other words, there is no clear-cut issue on what constitutes security. more»

How Can WCIT Assist in Connecting the Rest of the World?

A key element of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is to connect the people around the world who are not yet connected. These are people in developing economies, but also people in rural areas within developed economies, as well as the 650 million people with disabilities. The question is whether the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) that are being discussed at WCIT can assist in this. If we go back to 1988, when the current ITRs were first established, the focus was on access and interoperability. more»

Industry Structure at the Core of WCIT Problems

At the WCIT in Dubai it is interesting to follow the debates surrounding the many issues being addressed at this world congress. There are the issues of internet governance in the broadest sense of the word - these have received widespread attention. But if we look at the core issues that an organisation such as the ITU can address then the scope widens - to topics such as the rules for the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), and particularly those in relation to the rules for rates and charges. more»

WCIT Off to a Flying Start

This is the report on Day One of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), directly from Dubai. The conference started off in a positive way that did not reflect the sometimes bitter debate that has taken place in the press in recent months - although, of course, there was a great deal of discussion about the comments made in the press over that period. All comments were welcomed, as an indication of the importance of the internet and telecommunications; nevertheless the Secretary-General, Hamadoun Touré, was clearly critical of some of the deliberate misinformation that has been spread before the conference. more»

Report on the Eve of WCIT

Hello, from Dubai where the WCIT (World Conference on International Telecommunications) - under the auspices of the United Nations agency, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) - is set to get underway... There is a great deal of jockeying for position taking place, and it is interesting to walk through the corridors and listen to what is going on. more»

The Real Work Starts After WCIT12

The really important part of the World Conference on IT (WCIT) is not the internet battles that have caught the interest of the press - it is what will happen after the conference has ended. Membership of WCIT is on a per-country basis... Each country is free to make up its own delegation and these delegations can therefore represent a large variety of social, economic, business, legal, technical and other interests - as large and as wide as each country decides its delegation will be. more»

Who Is Going to Dominate the Internet?

While the internet has brought about the transformation of whole industry sectors and generated thousands of business models, as well as changing social behaviour, it is at the same time creating its own giants and dominant players. Does this mean that while certain vested interests are demolished, and others transform themselves into smaller sectors and organisations, new conglomerates will surface? Only time will tell more»

Telcos Cannot Wind Back the Clock

The proposals by the European and Arab telcos that are being considered at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) conference in Dubai later this year are most certainly facing defeat. This is not because the USA believes that the international telecommunications regulations (ITR) cannot be discussed by the ITU. America has a rather strange set of national regulations in which they have combined internet infrastructure and content -- and as such they claim that this no longer has anything to do with telecommunications. more»

Is the WCIT Indeed Wicked?

The traditional network operators see OTT services as a threat, and the companies offering them are perceived to be getting a free lunch over their networks - they are calling for international regulation. In particular, the European telcos (united in ETNO) have been claiming that this undermines their investment in infrastructure and they want to use the WCIT conference in Dubai later this year to lobby for regulatory changes that would see certain levies being levied - something that is strenuously opposed by, among others, the USA and the APAC countries. more»

Rebalancing Telco Infrastructure Investments

One of the reasons telecommunications has been so successful for more than 160 years is that it adopted a strategy that resulted in a seamless network all around the world. You can pick up a phone anywhere in the world and, with little or no instruction, make a call to anybody else in the world without worrying what phones and technology they are using on the other end of the line... But during that process the nature of the network operators changed. more»

National Broadband, Leadership or Procrastination

There is no doubt that any national infrastructure plan of the magnitude of national broadband networks as they are currently rolled out in 9 countries and which policies have been put in place in another 110 countries will have questions attached to it. Furthermore, this infrastructure is being developed for the digital economy, which, in itself, is a fast-moving world. Five years ago there were no smartphones, tablets, mobile apps or smart TVs. more»

Mobile Infrastructure Running Out of Steam

The enormous growth in mobile usage, doubling each year, is set to continue for several years in a row. According to Ericsson, by 2020 mobile operators will need to provide one thousand times the capacity that was required in 2010. Our assessment at BuddeComm is that the mobile industry has already fallen behind in delivering the capacity needed today, let alone coping with the enormous growth ahead; and that this situation will deteriorate before it improves. more»

The Role of Mobile Broadband in the Overall Telecoms Market

The fixed broadband network is the infrastructure needed to meet the needs, both economic and societal, of developed markets. While some people in some developed markets have abandoned their fixed telephone connection in favour of all-mobile solutions, the majority (90% plus) still have both a fixed and a mobile connection... And so wireless broadband and FttH will develop, in a complementary and harmonious way. There are several reasons for this. more»

Shifting Clouds

There have been some interesting developments in cloud computing over the last year. For over five years our position has been that we acknowledge the enormous economic advantages that cloud computing has to offer, but at the same time recognise that the risk of losing control over data and IT systems is, at this stage, too great for most companies and governments to start utilising the cloud advantages in a serious way. more»

Are We Giving Up On Broadband Equality?

One of the worldwide challenges in relation to the development of national broadband networks is equality. Broadband is critical for the digital infrastructure and it is essential that everybody enjoys the same level of quality and affordability. This is a major challenge and as a rough measuring stick approximately one-third of the people in developed economies would miss out if there were not a requirement for equality. We see some of the problems related to this issue arising in other countries. more»

Internet Challenges Need Win-Win Solutions

The current internet versus telcos debate that is going to be played out at the WCIT conference in Dubai later this year is still following the old confrontational pattern. The telco industry, for all the right reasons, started off as a monopolistic one. With the limited technology and knowledge of that time this system has been able to deliver telephone networks to all the countries in the world, and the industry can be proud of that achievement... However technology and knowledge have progressed... more»

OpenFlow - The Programmable Network Revolution

Over the past few months I have made regular references to OpenFlow. This is an exciting new development that fits in very well with several of the next generation technology developments that we have discussed in some detail over the past few years -- new developments such smart cities and smart societies, the internet of things. Such networks need to operate more on a horizontal level, rather than the usual vertical connection between a computing device and the users. more»

Disruptive Google Fiber Is Shaking up the Telco World

The Google Fiber project is receiving international attention. This in itself is a good thing, since it brings the benefits of high-speed FttH infrastructure to the attention of large numbers of people in business and government who will not have to deal with such developments on a regular basis... At the same time we have to look at Google Fiber from the point of view of operating in the American regulatory environment. Yes, we can all learn from its disruptive model, and particularly when the results of the more innovative elements of the services begin to kick in; but for other reasons there is no way that this model can be replicated elsewhere. more»

Some of the World's Largest Investors Are Investing in FttH

While some governments are still struggling with the concept of FttH - some of the world's largest investors such as the Dutch superannuation funds (ABP, PGGM and Pensioenfonds Vervoer (PfV)), have been investing in FttH in the Netherlands since 2010. This is happening in a country with a broadband cable network that covers 95% of the country and nationwide access to ADSL2+ networks. more»

Broadband Demand-Side Management

Countries, cities and commercial organisations around the globe are facing problems associated with the rollout of fibre-to-the-home networks... We have been warning about these issues for well over a decade. The problem arises because the telecoms industry has been based on the principle 'build and they will come'. more»

Medical Body Area Networks

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington has advanced its wireless health care agenda by adopting rules that will enable Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs), low-power wideband networks consisting of multiple body-worn sensors that transmit a variety of patient data to a control device. MBANs provide a cost effective way to monitor every patient in a healthcare institution, so clinicians can provide real-time and accurate data which allows them to intervene if necessary. more»

Is the Future of the Internet at Risk?

The debate about the control of the internet is intensifying, with interesting discussions expected later on this year in Dubai at the WCIT conference organised by the ITU. Over the last 25 years the industry has moved from being mainly telephony-based to being mainly IP-based, and many say that what is now at stake is the future of the internet as we know it at this point in time... The reality now is that the political stakes of the internet have risen significantly. more»

Case Studies from the UN Broadband Commission

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, in partnership with ITU, has released its first country case studies looking in-depth at the state of broadband development in four economies and examining links between broadband and the UN Millennium Development Goals. The case studies look at the effect of broadband connectivity on economic growth and access to basic services like education and health. They offer regulatory guidance and best practices, showcasing success stories and lessons learned. more»

Communications and the London Olympics

Communications will be one of the most critical areas during the London Olympic Games. The industry is working to establish shared access networks -- would it not be nice if they did this everywhere, all the time? They are also working very closely with British Olympic Association, London Transport, the broadcasters and content providers. Mobile coverage will be the biggest shared infrastructure in the world. more»

Carlos Slim Puts Bomb Under European Telecoms Market

The Mexican telecoms and broadcasting magnate Carlos Slim -- the wealthiest man in the world and owner of the business conglomerate Grupo Carso -- has put a 28% bid for the Netherlands' incumbent telco KPN on the table. This is a very interesting and significant move. As is often the case, new winners tend to arrive when previous winners become losers, especially when they are becoming weaker and thus easier to attack. more»

Are Banks Finally Taking E-Payments Seriously?

For the first time ever bankers have launched an EFTPOS advertising campaign. Could this be an indication that they are becoming worried about the competition they are getting from internet companies such as PayPal, Amazon, Google and Apple (iTunes)? The digital economy is growing much faster than the bricks-and-mortar economy and, while EFTPOS is not going away anytime soon, an increasingly large amount of money is now bypassing their systems. more»

Open Systems Lead to 'Economies of Scope'

The 'economies of scope' is an appealing concept implying that if we share knowledge in an open way we can create new, healthy economies that do not just depend on 'scale'. As we have seen, over the last decade in particular, some of the companies that are trying to achieve exponential growth can endanger the economy and society in general - the global financial crisis surrounding the large financial institutions, the scandals around News Corp, the political lobbying (bullying) by the super rich and the destruction of the environment by some developers. more»

Intune Collapses the OSI Model

While a great deal of attention has recently been paid to the enormous amount of change that is taking place at the edge of the network with smartphones, tablets, apps, Web2.0 etc, massive changes are also underway on the network side. The current network has been designed over a period of thirty years and it is due for a serious overhaul to keep abreast of changes in the industry in general. more»

Spectrum Key to Broadband Utility

The explosion in mobile communications in the developing world has created social and economic changes that have exceeded all expectations and predictions -- even those made as recently as five years ago. There are still countries lagging behind, but now is the time to move on to the next stage -- and that means broadband. Already the developed world is showing an enormous appetite for mobile broadband, so the demand is most certainly there. The rapid development of low cost Smartphone, projected to approach $50 soon... more»

The Internet Monopoly

People are increasingly becoming aware of the emerging 'internet monopoly'. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and many the other (local) social network and media sites are becoming so large and powerful that they can dictate the use of their services in such a way that people lose control over their own information and their participation in these networks. ... These digital media developments certainly did happen, but they are not founded on the 'permission-based' principles that we advocated during all those years. more»

Only Structural Change Can Save the Mobile Industry

I regularly bring this issue forward, similar to the discussion in relation to the structural separation of the fixed networks, which I began just over a decade ago. What we are seeing in the mobile industry is an infrastructure and a spectrum crunch. The amount of spectrum needed to satisfy people's demand from mobile phones, tablets and soon a range of other smart devices is limitless. Mobile carriers are scrambling for spectrum... more»

The Issue Is the Digital Economy, Not Broadband

After some five years of public debate on the national broadband network it is heartening to see that more and more people are getting the message that the network means more than just fast internet access. Increasingly key decision-makers in business and government are reaching an understanding of the transformation that is underway in the economy. more»

US Telecoms Market Further Deteriorating

Some worrying signs are emerging in the USA. During the last decade I have questioned the economic viability of two parallel telecoms infrastructures. When these two network rollouts commenced no issue existed in relation to conflicting interests -- one delivered telephone services, the other broadcasting services. But this all began to change when it became possible to use the HFC network more»

Mobile Broadband Boom: The Killer App for FttH

It still amazes us that respected industry commentators join liberal politicians in questioning the need for FttH in the wake of the enormous success of mobile broadband. They refer to this phenomenon as proof that people are bypassing their fixed broadband and are now using the smartphones and tablets to obtain most of their broadband access. However, after several years of mobile boom the majority of households are still using the fixed-line networks for calls... more»

Broadband in Emerging Markets

Today, over half the world's population now has access to a mobile phone, with 5.37 billion mobile subscriptions and over two billion internet users worldwide by the end of 2010. However, these are more than just bald statistics -- today, modern ICTs are genuinely changing people's lives for the better. more»

Spotlight on TD-LTE Technology and Spectrum

As handheld devices grow ever more sophisticated and demand for content-rich services such as mobile video increases, mobile data traffic is likely to continue growing at an explosive rate. This represents good news for the industry, but next-generation wireless technologies will need to be ready to meet the challenge and able to cope with these increased demands on bandwidth. A recent TD-LTE spectrum workshop looked at the potential of TD-LTE technology to take us on to the next stage of wireless communication. more»

The Impressive Growth in Global Internet Stats (2011)

The ITU launched its latest statistics report, the World in 2011: ICT Facts and figures, which revealed impressive growth in a number of areas such as global internet use, particularly in developing countries. The report included further key details such as: "One third of the world's population are forecast to be online by the end of 2011..." more»

The Governance of the Internet

Among the hottest topics at the Broadband Leadership Summit, which was held during the ITU Telecom World 2011 in Geneva, were the issues in relation to the security of the various aspects of the digital economy. The key issue in relation to the governance of the internet relates to the many political, social and cultural differences between countries. This is one of the most contentious issues. more»

The Internet of Things and User-Generated Internet Energy

One of the key factors in the transformation of the telecommunications industry was the fact that, thanks to the internet, end-users were suddenly able to become active participants in generating content for both private and public use. Companies such as Google, Amazon, eBay, Skype and Apple, followed by a number of national and international social media companies, all became involved in these new developments, and they became the great game-changers of the industry. Telecoms companies were caught off guard... more»

No Broadband - Lower Real Estate Sales

A survey conducted by US company Comcast Business Class found 90% of building owners and property managers felt that broadband is the most important selling point in the commercial real estate market behind price, parking and location. more»