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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Particularly disappointing - net neutrality lite and mobile capture

Carter overall makes some interesting points on both network deployment and universal service, but I want to highlight two areas where he's deliberately chosen to come down on the side of industry, not consumers.
1. Net neutrality - not only is there no mention of mobiles in connection with "so-called" NN, a vital consideration for a growing number of people using sub-dial-up-speed 3G broadband, but the proposals do not discuss preventing ISPs from throttling customers to below current levels, or measures to prevent them targetting specific apps - in contrast with the FCC or CRTC.
2. Universal service - as is well-known the mobile companies have held fixed-line customers to ransom with their termination prices for decades, but now it seems that they will also get a slice of the universal service pie, and a chance to muddy that particular debate for the next decade. I like mobile broadband - I have it myself - but a consistent 2Mbps (or evening peak 20Kbps) connection in central London is impossible, let alone in currently broadband-less areas. 
To make a huge bet on LTE adding to the mix rather than encouraging BT's continued investment with WiMAX/whatever boffins can come up with in smart wireless broadband, seems to me to be blindsiding the real issues in the short-run. LTE is a long-term bet - decade or more for under-served areas. WiMAX and BT lines are the present. Mobile lobbyists must have done a lot of behind-the-scenes work on this one (and note the spectrum reforms, more their central mission).
And the claim that BT has low market shares in telephony (60% lines, 25% broadband) - well BT Retail yes, but the lines in under-served areas are all BT lines connected to BT exchanges, whatever the badge says!!!!!!!

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