Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I write this on my 5GB monthly capped 3 dongle which I will try to use for a Skype confcall tomorrow PM.
UPDATE: Rob Frieden's masterful analysis combined with his posting on Level3 and peering, makes a strong case that whatever happens will be likely viewed 'skeptically' by the courts.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
It may be obvious, but I have just realized I was the only independent expert invited to speak at the net neutrality summit - everyone else was pro or con. Is that unusual?
Friday, November 26, 2010
Finally, let me flag up Monica Horten's analysis of the Trautmann call for a new Recommendation on traffic management - which would be a damned sight more transparent and timely than a bit of background whispering. Will the Commission show leadership? Lets not be beastly to Ofcom lobbying MEPs against a new Recommendation - UK government has almost zero civil servants left to fight on this one, so think of it as outsourcing (for the time being, Ofcom still has the resource).
UPDATE: some commentators suggest that different numbers would be more reliable - the point stands: regulators should be analyzing the issue rather than accepting ISP claims. As a Super JANET user, I would suggest they speak to their architects.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
There is an excellent balanced summary from Ray Corrigan here - though as he have agreed with me I hope I'm not being overly self-serving. As an engineer, his sadness at the lack of proper analysis is manifest.
The BBC was told to 'show me the money' by Robert Madelin - and they have (courtesy of Rhona Parry).
My conclusion remains the same - this problem is deep enough in the plumbing that unless you have a smoking gun (Madison River, Comcast) or the brilliantly indiscrete Charlie Dunstone, you'll not find it unless you look - and the equally wise monkey regulators are not going to go there (yes, I duplicated my metaphor, I liked it so much)- except ARCEP?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
We had a 'summit' - well, there was a goodish panel first-up with the bright and amusing Robert Madelin, the new DG. Then a frankly embarrassingly network/manufacturer panel gloating about the FCC defeat over Comcast.
Then a good speakers' lunch (thanks - and excellent company), before we had to face a storm to get to the EuroParliament - which has no WiFi access, not even locked down. That and the pompously priggish Malcolm Harbour editorialising with little speeches after each speaker on the first panel was enough for me - especially when Neelie Kroes rolled in at 4.15 and said Skype blocking could be avoided by switching mobile provider - when the previous panel was all about how ALL French mobiles block Skype. She unfortunately made a fool of herself by following that - shame as she's such a Skype fan.
The US newspapers got it all wrong as usual, the WashPost's Kang really doesn't check her facts at all.
Not the best day ever - but as JJ Sahel said, it could be worse, we could debate this in Washington....
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
But still two out of three Windows users have IE as their browser, and 2 out of 3 Mactards use Safari.
We're simple undiscriminating folk, and we eat the porridge in front of us two-thirds of the time (written with Dell on Windows XP and Chrome...)
Which brings me to ask - did the phantom quote have any truth to it? Is ARCEP planning on fines and penalties?
Oh, and its 'Dr Marsden' - I got my degree stripped too!
UPDATE: I've never heard of the journalist who wrote this piece, but perhaps he's trying to paraphrase my blog - an email would be polite to ask me!
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
But 70% of European mobile users won't even contemplate paying more for faster access (cut through the PR flannel and that's what this survey says). Can't pay, won't pay.
So be thankful that Demon has actually been honest where customers and networks won't - it has launched new MINIMUM speed broadband packages. Prize for truth in advertising!
"the competitive process promoted by the Recommendation may play an important role also in the framework of the net neutrality debate. Competition at the network level, combined with appropriate transparency measures, gives customers the ability to choose among different providers for their internet connections, making any potential danger to net neutrality less clear and present... In other words: strong competition in broadband markets may allow a more relaxed regulatory approach to net neutrality issues."
Thursday, November 04, 2010
This Korean paper suggests that while Korea has fast broadband, ISPs play fast and loose with user terms and there is a significant lack of transparency which needs remedying.
This new EUI paper might have cited a recent book, but this is a topical rather than analytical paper - very good summary of 2010 developments to August.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
UPDATE: so a Republican House and Democrat Senate (just) - with both Whitman and Fiorina (unless the OC pushes her ahead) losing in California (former CEOs of eBay and Hewlett-Packard respectively).
UPDATE 2: So Cliff Stearns will become Chair of the Sub-Committee - and privacy will be high on his agenda, which makes the Google Buzz settlement of particular interest. He also pushed House Bill 5257, so US net neutrality is comatose until at least 2012 (and probably longer).
Monday, November 01, 2010
9:30 – 11.15 Moderator: Robert Madelin, Director General, DG INFSO
Statements – 5 minutes each
Broadcaster: BBC – Matthew Postgate, Controller of R&D
ECTA - Ilsa Godlovitch, Director
ETNO – Ralf Nigge, Deutsche Telekom , ETNO Regulatory Policy Working Group Chairman
Vodafone – Richard Feasey, Director Public Policy
Consumer organisation: tbc
Regulator: Arcep - Joëlle Toledano, Member of the Board
11:30 – 12:45 Moderator: Bernd Langeheine Director DG INFSO
Academic: Dr. Chris Marsden
Operators: AT&T – Mick Corkerry, Executive Director EMEA Government Affairs
Content provider: tbc
Manufacturer: Cisco –Patrik Faltstrom, Distinguished Consulting Engineer
DigitalEurope – Speaker to be confirmed
Speaker from Japan/Singapore - tbc
14:30 – 15:50 Session 3: Moderator: Malcolm Harbour MEP, Chair IMCO Committee
Regulator: OFCOM – Alex Blowers, International Director
GSMA - Robindhra Mangtani, Senior Director
Cable Europe – speaker to be confirmed
VoIP provider: Skype – Jean-Jacques Sahel, Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs
Civil society: Quadrature du net - Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder
Manufacturer: NokiaSiemens - Sigurd Schuster, CTO Head of Technology Roadmapping
Operator: Telefonica - Mr.Rafael Diez Vega, Director of Corporate Regulation
16:00 – 18:00 Session 4: Net neutrality and the open internet – what is at stake?
Moderator: Herbert Reul MEP, Chair ITRE Committee
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President for Digital Agenda
MEPs: Maria Badia Cutchet (CULT representative), Pilar del Castillo Vera, Catherine Trautmann, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Jan Philipp Albrecht,
John Doherty, Chair of BEREC
Belgian Presidency - Vincent Van Quickenborne Minister for Telecommunications
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
NOTE: these are real speeds, not the DSL or HSDPA phantom lab speeds.
Hidden amidst this hype is the following: only 90k customers have taken up the 50Mb/s product so far. 610k are happy with 20Mb/s. 3.5m are happy with lower speeds.
So that's >3% who choose faster speeds at higher prices. Hmmm....
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
In July, they reported 250TB of data - trivial by fixed network standards though its mainly used by laptop users - and the 6% Windows Update figure matches my own usage - the laptop decides to download about 60MB in every GB I have (which is monthly use for normal users, I have a 3GB cap).
The Guardian's reporting is 'exclusive' (12 days after WhatMobile's!), and their data suggests 1% of data was iTunes, 3% Facebook, 2% Farmville and other Zygna games. From Whatmobile, it seems about 1% is Skype and MSN - which is high as its hard to make good Skype calls on 3's network. Google and YouTube together make up less than 1%. Notably, voice calls use up only 3% of total capacity - that's what the cashcow really sucks out of backhaul - next to nothing.
Add up all those numbers, and that's 17%. Yup, 83% of mobile broadband is other stuff - and I'm guessing BBC iPlayer might be quite a lot (though its only really good for radio on 3), but also other peer-to-peer uses, and email. After all, 250TB between a million people doesn't go far, in fact that's 250MB each.
So (despite shock-horror Guardian claims that they may soon throttle and otherwise breach net neutrality) it may be a while before the network ever needed to consider traffic management - after all, they charge per MB if users exceed their cap. Sit back and enjoy the money flowing...
11 November - I understand there will be a big event at the European Parliament - more details soon.
Incidentally, BEREC and Ofcom's attempts to douse the EC law on net neutrality appear to have been lit as a bonfire by Tea Party wingnuts in the US - who incidentally seem to have no idea that the European Directives were passed last year. Be careful who your friends are - do you want Grover as your pal?
Meanwhile, Americans are told to pay through the nose for duopoly and low speed (and even pay twice for cellphone/fixed backhaul on femtocells, which are the best short-term fix), and much the same applies elsewhere in the developed world outside East Asia.
Monday, October 25, 2010
First, note that its about 3Mb/s - and that you only get to use that subject to tight data caps. You pay a huge 70euro/month to get a landline equivalent 30GB cap, for instance. And its only in a few places, and its HSDPA so far, and no-one knows what real data rates will really be - clearly much lower if they are successful and there's no fixed access. I checked the beautiful little village of Konigstein in Saxony - no answers there except GSM, blank space, and some EDGE. No 3G even.
Conclusion: show me the data that says it really gives more than 2Mb/s in villages before all this puffery.
Huawei have helpful real information by Voda's CEO: 'We will be commencing network extension into regions which don't currently have any coverage in the near future, providing actual transmission speeds of around 3 mbit per second right from day one," said Friedrich Joussen, CEO of Vodafone Germany.
Vodafone will start work on the LTE upgrade at the end of September, and by next year 1,500 base stations will incorporate LTE technology. The communication company has been implementing field trials with HSDPA technology in rural regions over recent months, providing residents there with wireless access to the Internet. The infrastructure for Internet access is now in place in the Uckermark region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, plus Thuringia and Saxony.
UPDATE: DSL Prime was much more balanced than I suggested initially - here's my edit of their caveats: "
Incidentally, BBC's licence fee freeze at £145.50/annum to 2016 is accompanied by responsibility for funding the World Service from 2014 (to be folded into BBC News), and part of Welsh language TV from 2013. It also has to provide £25m capital and only £5m ongoing funding for local TV - good luck with that!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
But in The Economist : "Babbage is ranting about protecting consumers. Internet service providers love to hide what they offer behind words that suggest speed but evade responsibility for it. In America Comcast, a cable provider, is advertising a system upgrade called "Xfinity". It sounds fast, like something they'd test on a salt flat. But it's a technology with a boring acronym that offers about 30 megabits per second".
Mind you, they are finally investigating two blatant smoking guns that the European Commission acted on years ago: bill shock and mobile stealth data charging. There must be an election coming up...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"For possibly the first time since the adoption of the "telecoms package", an informal discussion on the issue of "net neutrality" took place at a breakfast meeting hosted by Catherine Trautmann MEP. This happened ahead of upcoming the net neutrality "summit" planned to take place in the European Parliament [11 November].
None of the positions defended by the industry or consumer representatives were particularly surprising, with Telefonica arguing that the "nightmare" of increased demands of their services had to be responded to by increased "management". In the same way as roads are not built to cope with maximum possible demands, it would be wasteful to build networks to have enough capacity to cope with maximum demand. Skype argued that the virtuous circle created by the open Internet, whereby openness fosters innovation which attracts more users, which increases the incentives to innovate, must be protected. Skype and the European Consumers Bureau (BEUC) argued that research shows clearly that transparency is insufficient to protect consumers from non-neutral access providers because of the difficulties involved in changing broadband providers.
"The Commission said that there were over 300 responses to the recently closed net neutrality consultation and that the priority was to ensure a level playing field and to avoid fragmentation. The issue of deep packet inspection, which BEUC said should be banned, was avoided by the Commission, which argued that other technologies "must be possible". During the debate, both Ivailo Kalfin (S+D, Bulgaria) and Edit Herczog (S+D, Hungary) briefly raised the thorny issue of content regulation, presumably because increased interference with citizens' communications for business purposes will make it harder for access providers to avoid caving in to demands to restrict or monitor access to data on the basis of government requests or media pressure. Telefonica (whose subsidiary O2 accidentally blocked the entirely innocent Imgur website because the "technology behind the service is more far reaching than anticipated and on occasion a site which should not be blocked may be") said that it was not interested in censoring online material."
Monday, October 18, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
So all those 50c add up to $90m for Verizon Wireless apparently - add AT&T, Sprint, every European country and everywhere else and its a conservative estimate that this is a billion-dollar design feature for mobiles. How about if you had to press 2 buttons to access the web so that accidents don't happen?
Rob Frieden highlights the actions the FCC - and all other regulators - could but don't take, on behalf of consumers.
European Commission action time perhaps?
Friday, October 08, 2010
The paper itself is to a European non-controversial in its conclusions (use SMP to prevent abuse of dominance, encourage interoperability/modularity and encourage co-regulatory type consensus building), though clearly I don't follow the modelling, and I rather like the allusion to herding an elephant (Ma Bell) which transmogrify into sheep (BabyBells and CLECs) and then multiply into cats (current landscape - though Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are more like tigers stalking deer?).
Oh, and it looks like Dr Vaishnav is a very proper engineer, so that particular criticism seems inappropriate. One does not have to make billions to be an analyst of telecoms....
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Elsewhere Damian Tambini has written for The Guardian on why Ofcom's position is untenable as regards this issue - it timidly claims all wider remit questions are for government, while government has told the EC that it should be up to NRAs how they respond! I think they mean they don't want to do anything much?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Hopefully he can report back on what else happens in DC!?
The European Commission is finalising its consultation period - 30 September is your deadline. Again, nothing online yet - they normally publish responses well after the final date, its not like the FCC process.
Meanwhile, the club of national regulators, BEREC, is meeting in Amsterdam on Friday week (as OPTA will be chairing BEREC next year, this is part of the handover). Their news page was updated on 4 June, but they are recruiting...they'll discuss their response to the Commission on net neutrality.
And the FCC's comment period on their latest Notice is 1 October, with replies thereafter. No doubt it will be a topic of conversation at TPRC next week - can't go, I'm getting married...
Monday, September 13, 2010
On the subject of Cisco, their infamous hockey stick net traffic graph was reproduced in an otherwise excellent Economist piece which is great undergrad primer material on net neutrality. Unsurprisingly The Economist agrees with the Ofcom economists' answer that more local loop competition is the answer, quoting the Berkman study dissed by the network duopoly's lawyers last autumn - to which we might ask why Canvas and CDNs then become so important in apparently 'competitive' UK ISPs? But the clue is in the journal's title. It does quote at length Kevin Werbach and even the excellent Debora Spar - who would tell you to follow the money...
Meanwhile in Spain, Telefonica is planning to offer best-efforts Internet with higher QoS offered as a premium product. This is the harbinger of more QoS-led efforts where transparency will be paramount.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
"Assessment of published documents pertaining to network operators' claimed operating procedures is relatively straightforward. Actually ensuring operators are following the letter and the spirit of their own publicly available procedures is more difficult. Measurement of actual operations and net user harm is complex and the temptation would be for an independent auditor (Ofcom?) to measure metrics which are easy to measure rather than those that provide truly informative indicators of sector practice." Bravo!
Friday, September 03, 2010
The reasons why telecoms regulators such as Ofcom simply fail to appreciate the depth and scale of problems inherent in traffic management are many and I have expounded on them at great length elsewhere, but the key issue is regulatory capture. ISPs are as unlikely as turkeys to vote for Christmas, and so long as they all agree that freetards are a problem, they will have a more or less settled line in favour of throttling bandwidth, underprovisioning backhaul, lying about broadband speeds, and describing as 'unlimited' packages which are anything but, and 'reasonable use' as that which makes them a net profit. When the content players are more concerned to disconnect suspected filesharers than try to achieve an Internet-based business model, they're all pushing on an open door with regulators and politicians.
This is why it is so remarkable that a measure which is only favoured by consumers, the poor bloody infantry, the voters, has got as far as transparency (which all economists are supposed to favour). Now lets see whether the implementation of the Directives can actually provide a decent deal for those consumers, against the combined weight of the media and telecoms industries.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
But lets not fool ourselves, investing in specialized (as opposed to managed) services diverts capital from the basic pipe and vice versa, unless you're the genius who knows exactly how to use managed as well as specialized services to continue offering an exact 'Goldilocks' service to regular Internet users - not too hot, not too cold. In this version of the fairytale, too hot is too expensive to deploy efficiently or non-profitable, and too cold is too throttled. Just right would offer the full suite of managed, specialized and plain vanilla services, ensuring maximum consumer transparency and choice, with surplus profits reinvested in maximising the cheapest and best alternative for the majority of traffic, the Internet pipe. That's obviously easier where your main or sole business is as an ISP and your main accounting is wholesale and transparent. Its hardest if you're a cable provider or even more massive communications conglomerate with horizontal-vertical linkages into content and customer services that makes the pipe and ISP consumers the least of your worries.
As with all out-of-copyright fairytales, it comes from Europe and suffers greatly in translation to American corporate capitalism. It may even come true, but probably not in Kansas.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Cisco of course likes Quality of Service and differentiated services as that enables it to sell fancier routers. Its recent work on the future Internet actually designs a scenario of a type of 'net neutrality leads to Paradise Lost' called 'Bursting at the Seams' (this scenario is alongside protectionism, economic stagnation and security threats).
This is the 'Silly Season' of wild rumours, so most likely the Skype share flotation (can it be worth $5b to anyone?) will go ahead...
We argue that transparency of broadband works. Increasing transparency about the actual quality of broadband internet is good for consumers and increases quality and efficiency on broadband markets.
We conducted an experimental study in a laboratory, comparing various policy scenarios in which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are obliged to disclose the actual quality of their service. Nowadays, consumers often only have information about the price and maximum bandwidth of broadband internet, which says little about the actual quality they experience. Results of this research indicate that increased transparency about actual quality leads to stronger competition between ISPs, and increases the quality of broadband.The Ministry of Economic Affairs supported this TILEC research project as part of its effort to implement the new European directives on electronic communications into Dutch telecommunications law. Our study is part of TILEC’s larger research agenda on innovation, competition policy and regulation, and we will use the data and results of this study for a number of academic publications.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Greg Taylor gives a thorough and thoroughly fair review of my book, and his two particular criticisms, that it is Euro-centric and that it is perhaps too optimistic about the reversal of neo-liberalism in US telecoms policy, are those that I fully accept. Recall the book was written in the bright Obama dawn of early 2009, not the appalled, apocalyptic and rotten summer of Beckian doom.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Andrew Odlyzko's latest work has set me thinking, along with Christian Sandvig's reminder of the brutal corporate strategy of the railroad and oil pipeline bosses of the Gilded Age (which I back in the bubble of 2000 decided had been replaced by a new George Gilder-ed Age).
John Seely Brown has long talked of the role of information processing in terms of enabling technologies (or general purpose technologies), and of the second forty year period as more important than the first in any enabling technology's development. This is not new - it is known as Solow's Productivity Paradox - and reflects the socio-economic lag before the full benefits of new technologies can become generally deployed in any market. Hence, the steam engine was invented in 1774, the mobile version - steam trains - in 1805, the iron-clad ocean-going ship in 1843 (and the enormously advanced SS Great Eastern in 1858, largest ship for over 40 years), but their effect was far greater over the third and fourth human generations after their invention (note that Brunel's great ships became respectively a gold rush passenger carrier to Australia and a telegraph cable carrier, thus enabling enablers). The same process applies to the motor car, the microprocessor, electrification and so on.
So with the Internet. It was 'invented' (depending on your taste) in about 1968, so it is now entering its third generation with widespread consumer adoption of broadband.
Its worth adding that these enabling technologies can produce bubbles in investment because their development is so lumpy before it becomes entirely ubiquitous - and Odlyzko's thesis is in part that this bubble speculation is in the long run beneficial for development (if not for investors) as it spurs that ubiquity. Hence the railroads have seen multiple bubbles in investment, which eventually resulted in oversupply of track in the UK, but phenomenal growth in economies which copied that development (as well as in the UK itself). Argentina, Paraguay, Siberia, Utah, the Punjab, Kenya, all benefited enormously from the railroad up to a hundred years after its invention. In consequence, beef, wheat, rice, cotton markets all made huge strides, as did real estate, tourism, postal services, local road transport and so on.
What does this mean for net neutrality? Well, first is that real damage to wider innovation, should it occur, may not matter much until 2050 or so, at which point it will have utterly shattered the lead of .
Second, the core network usages may simply resist innovation - railways have more or less used standard gauge ever since 1850, despite the attractions of broad gauge and Brunel's other innovations. An unmanaged pipe may be best - just as Brunel's 130km/h trains of the 1870s barely needed speeding up for 100 years (and are still timetabled speeds today!). But Japan's bullet trains from 1964, and France's TGV from 1981, are only now being replicated in Germany, China and so on, and the UK is unsurprisingly at least half a century behind with its fiendishly useless railway regulation almost 20 lamentable years old, and no investment or longterm planning.
Third, the network itself may not need to continue to exponentially increase its speed: perhaps Ethernet is fast enough, or at least can be trivially upgraded for consumers. Of course you have to reach Ethernet speeds first by fibre to more or less everyone in the country. So once you're up to speed and have several alternative distribution networks (e.g. rail, canal, road, bicycle/horse now outmoded), you don't need to invest in some maglev type of super-fast service. Take an example: satellites are brilliant at delivering high definition television, mobile spectrum is great for telephony. The fixed Internet doesn't need to do everything.
Fourth, you could fiddle around the edges ('managed services' anyone?) just using the spare physical capacity in the ducts, as railways developed telegraph and telecoms services next to the rail lines. Its what keeps trunk telecoms working in most countries even now - MCI in the US used the railways' rights of way, most UK companies used the same - after all, they had 17,000km of fibre ready for competitors to BT.
But at the centre is the unrebuttable claim that the innovation caused by a largely distributed architecture is the best for innovation - it cannot be rebutted because we don't have enough convincing evidence to prove the contrary, unless one simply maintains that telecoms companies are hopeless innovators and thus should be kept away from fiddling with the system.
However enabling the Internet will become - and it promises a great deal - it will achieve a great deal more in the next fifty years. Whether it will be allowed to do so is what net neutrality is all about, whether you frame the issue in technical, social, economic, political, philosophical or any other terms. A bubble of investment that allowed developed countries to simply run fibre to their customers would solve most of the connectivity part of the problem. How what gold rush fable can we invent to make it happen? How about Free's business model, an all-you-can-eat buffet at 30euros with no sales: the world's greatest ISP?
Monday, August 23, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
There are at least 4.1m broadband users (in only 3 years from launch), and 6% of households appear to have only mobile broadband (with 9% having both). As data speeds increase, this might grow, though patchy coverage and ludicrously low caps (1GB/month typically, though my 5GB/month package from 3 is adequate) discourages growth (see p.295 on how rubbish it is perceived). Unsurprisingly students and those who change address often in private rents - early-career types - are those who most want to avoid long-term contracts. Ofcom also shows - unsurprisingly - that mobile data use is growing much quicker than revenue (Fig 5.6) - though its still a barely significant 1% of total data revenue use. With 4m Jesus-phone users, that may increase.
With managed IP networks representing 20% of Internet volume but video 30% (double web surfing) it will be instructive to see how that managed fraction increases over the next 2 years. CAGR for IP traffic is steady at about 70% in the UK. At pp285-6, Ofcom explains that the overall trend is towards throttling and capping usage - and explains that this unsurprisingly is driving consumer concerns about net neutrality.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
This came in today: Dutch telecoms regulator OPTA lost a case today against the four Dutch cable companies, effectively preventing OPTA to unbundle the Dutch cable market. The Dutch were the first to implement such an unbundling scheme in cable, which by now has been standard practice in DSL for years. In fact, one firm normally active in the DSL market had already successfully entered the (analog) cable market in the Netherlands by leasing lines from cable firms Ziggo and UPC.
After OPTA got the green light from the European Commission to unbundle analog cable, the four cable providers active in the Netherlands immediately filed suit to prevent such from happening. I'm still reading through the opinion of The Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal, (aka the Administrative High Court for Trade and Industry), but this is looking bad.
The court mainly slams OPTA for its definition of the geographic scope of the Dutch cable market. Whereas OPTA claimed the cable market to be consisting of a number of regional monopolies— which warranted special intervention like unbundling—the court had none of that. Rather, the Tribunal takes the scope of the Dutch cable market to be national, and thus sufficiently competitive to prevent intervention. This argument on the geographic market for cable is strengthened by the finding of the Court that the product market is pretty much uniform throughout the country.
I have been a big fan of OPTA's cable unbundling, and I was actually about to enter into a contract with a new entrant company to get cable. I've never really bought the ladder of investment theorem, but in this market it may arguable may work well in a different way: cable unbundling enables entrants already active in the high-end digital TV market to offer an entry level service to attract new customers. This basic service does not so much generate enough revenues to allow the entrants to invest according to the LoI principle, but rather creates a stepping stone for consumers towards double, triple, or quadruple play packages that these entrants couldn't offer before. And this makes the telecoms market more competitive as a whole.
So I would urge OPTA to appeal. To be continued, hopefully...
Monday, August 16, 2010
The biggest issue for Vodafone users is the changes, including their branded music store, cannot be reversed, whereas for instance Orange's rival ad bloatware can be removed.
Wireless net neutrality and transparency are overdue some regulatory oversight?