Reboot the NBN
Rod Sims presentation to NBN Rebooted conference: "The ACCC agrees ... with the Vertigan conclusion that ... disaggregation of NBN Co ... would, for the first time in Australian experience, put in place a market structure that has the potential for effective infrastructure-based competition through leveraging existing assets. The present opportunity to shape the future market structure through control and decisions over the major infrastructure assets in this country has not previously existed."
Have a look at Rod Sims' speech to the NBN Rebooted conference in Sydney on 17 November 2014.
It reflected some aspects of Graeme Samuel's excellent Charles Todd Oration on 5 November. But Graeme Samuel grasped the significance of content lockin as the next phase of the big players seeking dominance.
The suggestion is that NBN Co should be sold off in bits based on technology. The proposition for competition based on infrastructure type might make sense initially but is it appropriate for the the long term? HFC, FTTN, WiFi and LTE all effectively converge when (and/or if?) speed and capacity demand requires that the node be at the front fence? Thus the ultimate question is just a lead-in issue. So the access network and the core network merge.
But can the access network itself be duplicated in the street to any economic benefit? As households and businesses become more dependent upon reliable communications, redundancy in the access network will eventually become an essential requirement. But could this be better achieved by architecture rather than by having multiple suppliers? Is NBN Co architecting it's network for eventual FTTP? Is it architecting it for redundancy at some stage in the future?
There are many more questions.
Is a duopoly better than a monopoly? Will there be geographical islands of monopoly? Will the community and the taxpayer suffer similar stuff-ups and rip-offs as the privatisation of energy generation and distribution, ie, competition at the retail level proving to be an expensive and superficial farce?
We have plenty of opinion and ideology but the subject seems to me to require more thorough market, technical, economic and regulatory analysis than we have had. Too many studies seem to have the objective of conforming with current economic and regulatory dogma, not challenging them.
Market issues: projected growth in demand for two-way speed, capacity and responsiveness; emerging applications; impact of big-data on consumer and commercial markets.
Technical: projected evolution of individual technologies; relative capabilities; new technologies like Google's Project Loon.
Economic: alternatives for competition; driving investment; benefits/effects on consumers; risks of monopoly or oligarchy rents.
Regulation: competition blockers or bottle-necks like ducts of content lock-in; determination and capacity to regulate where regulation is necessary.