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Title II Will Have Little Effect on Telecom Developments in The USA

We now know what direction the FCC will take in reorganising the American telecoms market. For many years I have mentioned the rather bizarre situation in that country wherein broadband is not seen as a telecoms service but rather as an internet service, which is itself classified as providing content. Thanks to extensive lobbying from among the telcos (who also refer to themselves as ISPs) in the early days of the internet, back in the 1990s, the FCC accepted their unbelievable proposals. As a result, over the last 20 years or so the USA's telecom market has changed from being one of the most competitive among developed economies to what it is now: a market with hardly any fixed telecoms competition at all. more»

The IETF's *Other* Diversity Challenge: An Update

Last June I wrote an article titled "The IETF's Other Diversity Challenge" where I discussed the positive steps the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is taking to increase the diversity of its participants and raised a potentially overlooked demographic: Network Operators. That essay was a problem statement of sorts, and I was long ago taught that you should only raise problems that you have a solution for, or are at least willing to help solve. more»

Why OIRA Needs to Coordinate Federal Cyber Security Regulation

Two quick facts about American industry's resilience against cyber-attack, (1) our critical infrastructure is inadequately protected and (2) federal regulation will be required to fix the problem, reliance on market forces alone will not be sufficient irrespective of whether or not Sony Pictures survives. Although regulation is needed, it needs to be coordinated and, above all, cost-effective. Which agency is charge of regulating cybersecurity? Right now, it's a free for all with agencies staking out turf and claims of authority. more»

Cable & Wireless US$3B Deal to Acquire Columbus Exposes Vulnerabilities in Caribbean Telecom Sector

When Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) announced an agreement to acquire Columbus International, news of the deal sparked widespread concerns about the impact of reduced competition on consumer pricing, infrastructure investment and wider economic development in the Caribbean. If approved, the deal will make CWC the Caribbean's largest wholesale and retail broadband service provider. At the same time, it will return several Caribbean territories into monopoly or near-monopoly markets... 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»

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»

The ITU Plenipotentiary: Member States Decrease Financial Contributions

The ongoing ITU Plenipotentiary Conference wraps up at the end of the week. The more than 2000 people present in Busan Korea from 171 countries -- overwhelmingly government bureaucrats -- have been busily polishing nearly a hundred resolutions on everything that ails them. The good news is that some sanity seems to have prevailed and most of the really extreme provisions apparently disappeared during the ensuing dialogue. One of the reasons for the change of heart is the realization that the ITU emperor's budget for clothes is disappearing. 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»

Taking It to the Streets

It is interesting to see telecommunications policy issues being covered by the general media. Of course, we expect to see coverage of communications issues in the business press. The sector is a large employer, makes massive investments in infrastructure and virtually every citizen buys communications products and services every month. Still, covering the sector in the business section is different from seeing coverage move to the front page or the general editorial pages. 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»