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FTTH Council Europe 2014: less gloom, more pragmatism

24 Feb

Stockholm in Winter

Last week I was in Stockholm all week for the 2014 edition of the FTTH Council Europe’s annual conference. It was a very good week for me (though sleep deprivation nearly got me in the end) with lots of great meetings with customers, potential customers, fellow analysts / consultants and friends. I’m not going to write a long analysis of the event (got to catch up on the million things I couldn’t get done while there) but here’s a set bullet points that summarize my feelings about it:

  • the atmosphere at the event was miles better than last year. Much more positive, better interaction, better content (at least for the little I got to attend),
  • the Council, while not endorsing VDSL in any form seems a little more relaxed around the idea that there are alternatives that make more sense for some players in some situations. It’s a good thing: more pragmatism cannot hurt the industry,
  • key finding: the second wave of FTTH deployment in Sweden is happening under a totally different model; Skanova’s CEO stated that customers were willing to pay 2000€ to get their connection installed, which would pay for most of the up-front cost,
  • the above statement didn’t surprise me as much as it could have: in between the results of our qualitative study on real-estate last year (and some follow-up work I’ll talk to you about soon) and the quantitative study on attitudes, usage and satisfaction this year, it’s quite obvious to me that most Swedes know that fibering up your home is a sound investment that also delivers great quality services (or the other way around),
  • said quantitative study was very well received, and exposes what I believe to be the first ever usage & attitudes analysis of FTTH users in a mature market (Sweden in this case). Hopefully there will be other iterations in other countries,
  • key finding: there is a third (besides Andorra Telecom and Jersey Telecom) that is doing fiber/copper substitution, on a much larger scale. It’s Telekom Indonesia, and their plans are quite advanced, targeting millions of users. Will need to investigate that one more fully,
  • key finding: Mobiliy (Saudi Arabia) is really one of the most interesting FTTH operators, very smart in its approach. I knew this from their technical operations, but their marketing operations are just as smart,
  • there’s a quasi-religious zeal in the promotion of the Swedish Open Access Model in some parts of the market there. I’ve long been aware that the model is not as widespread as it’s advertised to be, and has some deleterious side-effects on the industry, so tread with caution and don’t buy (all) the hype. It’s worked for Sweden (at some cost) but isn’t necessarily the best way to implement Open Access in my opinion,
  • key finding: TWDM is a damn interesting technology, especially in its regulatory implications. Another thing I need to dig into deeper,
  • finally, there was one thing that puzzled me deeply, and that is the Operator Award received by Vodafone. Sure, they have some FTTH in Portugal, and might have a bit in Spain soon, but for a player their size, they’re not exactly commited to the technology. Maybe it’s like Obama’s Nobel Peace Price. Let’s hope it works better…

Thanks to all of you who came by the Diffraction Analysis booth to chat or discuss collaboration. Kudos to the FTTH Council who pulled (in my opinion) the best annual conference of those I’ve attended to far. See you next year in Warsaw!

TPG Telecom’s FTTB play a headache for Turnbull

11 Feb

See on Scoop.itConnected World

Although obviously very unhappy with the broadband monopoly created by the previous government, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull – as its shareholder minister – also has to protect the interests of NBN Co.

Benoit Felten‘s insight:

I must confess to a certain amount of pleasure watching Malcolm Turnbull struggle to keep together the NBN he has contributed so hard to undermine. It’s not good news for Australia, but you can’t help but feel he got it coming…

See on

Exciting Stuff at the FTTH Council Europe Conference in Stockholm

4 Feb


Like every year, Diffraction Analysis is an analyst partner of the FTTH Council Europe annual conference which this year takes place in Stockholm on February 19-20th with pre-conference workshops on the 18th.

This year is particularly exciting for us because we will finally be able to show results from a very exciting quantitative study of broadband users in Sweden. We think these figures could significantly change some of the perceptions around the potential of FTTH. These results will be presented during Session 15 of the Conference on the FTTH Business Case:

Session 15: February 20th, 14:15, Room B

You will not want to miss that, sorry for insisting!

Benoît Felten will be there during the whole week of the conference from Feb 17-21st. He will be manning the Diffraction Analysis booth when not otherwise engaged. The booth is in the Analyst Corner section of the exhibition floor. Should you want to meet with Benoît for a briefing, expert opinion or to discuss business opportunities, please get in touch!

In addition, Benoît will be speaking at a number of workshops and events throughout the week:

  • Tuesday 18th AM – Huawei Customer Event
    Speech: 5 ways to supercharge your FTTP Business Case
  • Tueday 18th PM – Investor Day
    Panel Moderation
  • Tuesday 18th PM – World of Applications Workshop
    Speech: FTTP Usage Trends

Diffraction Analysis and Fiberevolution will be tweeting teasers from our study results starting tomorrow and all the way leading up to the conference. Please spread these around if you find them interesting!

2014, the year of Emerging Market Connectivity, Open Access and Smart Cities

17 Jan

New Year's CardIt is traditional for analysts to end a given year with an assessment of the major trends in that year and predict what the next year will be like. This year we thought we’d do a bit of that ourselves and update you on some of the things you can expect from us in the coming months.

Broadband and politics, unhealthy bedfellows

Probably the most significant news of 2013 in the broadband space will remain as the partial collapse of the Australian NBN. A highly political project from the start, its inability to deliver in the promised timeframe gave the Australian political opposition the ammunition to significantly reduce its ambitions when they won the elections. We have written repeatedly about exactly this risk, and while the reduced scope and ambition of the new project is a dissapointment to those who looked at Australia as the beacon in forward-thinking government led broadband, at least the core of the structural separation has so far been preserved.

In New Zealand also, the highly political NBN has hit some roadblocks, though not quite as dramatic as the Australian ones. The government, by not adjusting the regulatory framework to fiber caused the whole UFB plan to be jeopardized by a drastic price reduction in wholesale copper just when Chorus and the other Local Fiber Companies were heavily investing in FTTH. We have written about potential solutions, but they would require a fair amount of political clout and coverage, and it’s uncertain at this stage whether the government in place has that.

The conclusion from these events is that when large scale plans are put in motion to bring the telecom infrastructure into the 21st century, be it kicking and screaming, governments need to make realistic promises, execute efficiently on these and insure that regulation and policy go hand in hand. Good advice for a number of countries that have moved or are moving in that direction like Israël, Uruguay, and others.

Open Access is finally getting mainstream

At Diffraction Analysis we have long been arguing that Open Access not only makes economic sense but that in many countries around the world it’s the only way to get infrastructure deployed. A few years ago, the coalition of the unwilling incumbents was so deeply against this idea that even policy makers, for the most part, balked at exploring it. Things are slowly changing.

We’re seeing various forms of infrastructure sharing emerge around the world, be it around mobile network components (cell-towers, base stations…), access (open access fiber), backbone, etc. And the players involved, increasingly, include the same incumbent operators who had been fighting tooth and nail against any form of mandated open-access. Consequently we will see increasingly that Public-Private Partnerships that impose open access are likely to become more and more prevalent as even established players willingly consider participating.

Structural Separation doesn’t really get any closer…

On the other hand, the ultimate solution to infrastructure sharing and market fairness, structural separation, isn’t really gaining much traction. There was hope that Italy would represent a major landmark earlier in the year, but shareholder Telefonica seems to have killed that one in the nest (and nabbed a few assets in Latin America in the same move). The aforementioned Israeli project is closer to the mark although the continued existence of the copper-based incumbent may become an issue down the line.

The sad thing is that structural separation (and we now have a functional example of it in New Zealand) would solve most of the issues the market is facing both with funding and competition, at a lower cost to market players than the current model. I don’t have high hopes for policy makers to have the gumption to push this any further, although the UK and Poland might be places to keep an eye on. In the former, the incumbent seems to have aggravated the government so much that I hear the subject is at least no longer taboo. In the latter the incumbent seems keen on making it happen. If only it wasn’t owned by another incumbent who won’ hear of it…

The year(s) to come

While the above trends will continue to unfold, and hopefully a more radical approach to policy, at least in Europe, will be understood to be necessary, there’s little that we can do at our level to influence that. In emerging markets things are a little different because pragmatism generally trumps ideologies and even lobbying to some extent when you try to get from nothing to something. The example of the Colombian national backbone project is very enlightening in that respect, and probably the smartest piece of policy we have seen in telecommunications in years.

This helps us focus where are work will be needed, and it’s essentially in three areas:

  • Emerging market connectivity: the field to further connectivity out in emerging countries and in the rural areas of developed countries is wide open, and smart solutions and approaches emerge everyday. Our research has convinced us that the traditional view that only wireless will do and then only in dense urban areas is increasingly erroneous. We are releasing a white paper in the next few days on this topic, so watch this space. We expect to work more and more with emerging markets in the coming years to help policy makers set up the right context for connectivity growth and to help businesses build smart, effective and profitable networks addressing the massive opportunity there. Rural broadband in developed markets will most likely rely on similar approaches although the legacy may prove to be a big hindrance.
  • Open Access: now that the ideas of infrastructure sharing are gaining traction, an increasing number of players, public, private and in-between hop on board. At the same time, they start to realise that there’s no ‘Field of Dreams’ effect in technology adoption, and that you have to work hard to make an open access model work. We have been hard at work in 2013 assisting neutral operators, both municipal and national in fostering the right ecosystem for adoption to happen as swiftly as possible, and we will continue to do so. Figuring out the proper wholesale offerings, establishing the right levels of trust between partners and taking an active role in promotion and commercialisation are all part of the solution.
  • Smart Cities: it’s a sad state of affairs when you realise that many cities that have invested massive amounts in their own municipal fiber networks are not using it for much beyond delivering broadband to their citizens. Furthermore, cities that don’t have their own assets are increasingly puzzled as to how they can become smarter while having to rely on third-party networks not designed to do what they need them to do. This will be a big focus for us in the coming year as we try to establish the infrastructure bedrock for local governments to really launch themselves in the world of Smart Cities.

These areas are of course in addition to our usual coverage and analysis. In the next few weeks we will announce a lot of releases from Diffraction Analysis, including but not limited to the new iteration of our FTTx World Database, a report presenting 5 Ways to Supercharge an FTTx Implementation, in-depth analysis of user-by-user consumption data from a gigabit fiber network, a thorough examination of the reality of Chattanooga’s Gig City and much much more.

We will also attend rather more events than we did last year, including the just-round-the-corner FTTH Council Europe conference in Stockholm from February 18-20th. We will be presenting very exciting results from the first ever Fiber Usage survey. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.

This is going to be an exciting year, both for Diffraction Analysis and for the industry in general. We certainly hope it’s an excellent year for you, and we hope to see you around before December!

Fantastic Video on Net Neutrality

3 Oct

I’ve long held the idea that a short video explaining the concept of net neutrality to joe and jane average should be feasible. This isn’t a short video, but it’s the next big thing. It features a (fake) researcher doing some work for the big ISPs to establish the case for net discrimination. In the process of doing so, he interviews just about everyone who defends net neutrality to understand why. It’s fun, and it’s powerful. Take the 30mn to watch it!

Gigabit at Bayonette's Point!

26 Sep


I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Bayonette until I read this article in ZDNet. I tend to be cautious around such announcements because while it’s relatively easy to get coverage in the tech press, it’s much harder to actually deploy a network at scale and hook customers to it.

So, Bayonette is taking a leaf off of Google’s Fiber book and deploying Gigabit and free broadband. Could work, although when you don’t have the Google brand backing you, I have some doubts about the effectiveness of this. In France where a number of social houses have negociated “free basic broadband” as part of their FTTH deals, the story goes that customers who subscribe to the free service never upgrade. I guess it’s just the wrong kind of demographic to expect upsell from.

There are a few things that raised my eyebrows in this piece though:

  • Bayonette’s basic enterprise service is also a symmetric 1Gbps connection, but priced at 2,490 NOK per month (about €309): Good luck explaining to business customers that the service they pay 5 times as much for isn’t the same service consumers pay less for, honest gov’. That’s a recipe for cannibalization and value destruction if ever there was one.
  • The company employs existing dark fibre, and runs its own-brand DWDM (dense wave division multiplexing) equipment on top of the fibre: OK, so they’re not deploying fibre (fair enough, although I’m curious how much open dark fibre actually exists in Norway for access services), but they developed in-house DWDM. Either these guys have cracked the hardest nut to crack ever (DWDM ONTs cost a bomb which is why no one has seriously deployed them in the access market to date) or there’s something I don’t get here.

My gut feeling is these guys are really small, probably sub- 20k customers today (which is kind of our threshold at Diffraction Analysis for including them in the Fiber Database) but I guess I’m intrigued enough that I want to know more. If anyone from Bayonette is reading this, or if anyone reading this can put me in touch with someone from Bayonette, I’d be keen!


A Way Out of the New Zealand Copper Price Quagmire?

18 Sep

I came back from New Zealand last week, just before a political bomb related to regulated copper prices was launched. Here’s the story in a nutshell:

  • back when structural separation was being implemented, a review of regulated prices was put in the agenda by the government. The regulator, ComCom was supposed to perform this review in 2012 and a big focus was regulated copper access prices, which were supposed to shift from retail minus to cost plus.
  • the government, aware that their was a potential risk in copper prices being examined in abstract, ie. without examining the fiber investment in parallel, passed an amendment that specified that network investment should be taken into account by ComCom. However, the wording of that amendment was vague and ComCom decided it could not interpret it, so decided to ignore it. The new cost-plus principle was to be applied from December 2014.
  • ComCom conducted the cost-plus review based on international benchmarking. It benchmarked New Zealand against two other similar countries in the world (Denmark and Sweden) – and not having done any cost assessment as far as I’m aware – announced they would drastically reduce the wholesale access price to copper.
  • Chorus announced that such a change in the regulatory context would put them in jeopardy and certainly make the economics of the fiber network deployment suffer.
  • The Government announced it would bring forward the planned 2016 policy review and in its discussion document proposed overruling the regulator on the issue and started exploring ‘graceful’ solutions to extricate itself from the mess it had created.

This is roughly where things stand today. Last week the opposition and a coalition of private businesses including some of the operators have published an ‘independant’ study that describes the differential revenues between current copper rates and ComCom’s announced rates as a “tax” to fund an already profitable private business. It is of course turning into a political story, which means that sadly reason no longer comes into it.

Here are a number of things that spring to my mind about this sad state of affair, I should stress that I’m about as detached from New Zealand politics as one can be, so the following is really my views as an industry analyst and nothing else.

  • first of all, having looked at the recent impact of regulatory uncertainty in Australia and the jeopardy that Australia’s NBN plan currently is in, I find it deeply ironic that New Zealand would consider radically undoing what it started to do by destroying the delicate pricing balance that structured the UFB deal. Incidentally, this is not just an issue for Chorus: other LFCs will suffer too if the price differential between copper and fiber becomes such that Retail Service Providers simply have no incentive to consider switching customers to fiber.
  • second, it should be stressed, again and again, that the government got an amazingly good deal out of Chorus and other LFCs, probably too good. At NZ$1.5bn, the amounts invested come out at a little more than 500€ per household for a 75% coverage. The following graph is one I use in NBN related conferences to show the amount per household and the scope of intervention in parallel. Obviously, the more of the territory you want to cover, the more expensive it gets as urban density decreases. As it stands, New Zealand is getting 75% of households covered for the same cost per household that gets Malaysia 20%. And building costs in Malaysia are somewhat lower than in New Zealand. And that’s not even mentioning that the NZ government isn’t subsidizing the buildout, it’s investing in it, with an expectation of return.


  • third and last, this is not a case – as it might have been when EU regulation was looking into copper price adjustments – of Chorus using the copper revenues to pay dividends instead of investing in FTTH: the government has set hard targets with stiff penalties for the infrastructure to be deployed, and Chorus has met these targets (as far as I know). In fact, their deployment costs have turned out to be higher than what they had originally modelled and still they’re deploying. Put simply, the current level of copper revenues ensures that fiber deployment is possible. Take it away or reduce it dramatically and either the UFB doesn’t happen or Chorus goes belly up or the Government has to commit a lot more taxpayer money at no return.

My interpretation from far away, is that really what this is is a political coup by the opposition. Don’t get me wrong, I find the government’s behaviour here to have been really lame, to understate things a bit. They’ve opened themselves to the attacks now coming. I do find it strange though that the party that initiated the UFB is now willing to throw it under the train to score some political points…

I’m often left wondering how we ever got roads, highways, railroads and bridges built. These are amounts of public investment that dwarf what it costs to deploy a network infrastructure such as the UFB and yet they never seem to have been political liabilities…

Anyway, the real question now is: is there a way out that doesn’t make government look even more authoritarian and messy than it already does without sacrificing the UFB?

I think there is, but it requires adressing the elephant in the room: copper switchoff.

There are two issues to address here really: one is that without a decent level of copper revenues, Chorus can no longer finance the UFB deployment. The other is that with an excessive wholesale price difference between copper and fiber, RSPs will never push customers towards fiber. Then everybody loses: the government makes a bad investment, Chorus goes belly up, and New Zealand doesn’t reap any macro-economic benefits from Ultra-Fast Broadband.

By introducing a copper switchoff mechanism in fibered areas, even if copper prices are lowered, at least one of these issues is addressed: RSPs investing in unbundling will know that that investment has a limited lifetime, and even if the copper prices were lower, they will have to arbitrate between investing in a soon to be switched off cheap platform or migrate their customers to a more expensive future-proof one.

This wouldn’t solve all of Chorus’ issues, but it would create a radical long-term improvement of cost-structure as the company would no longer have to manage two networks in parallel (and the copper network is the costlier one to maintain in the first place). Chorus would still have a big cash-flow issue to get to that point and keep investing in Fiber, but I suspect that would be manageable, either through government or government-backed loans.

I’m not arrogant enough to believe that my voice will have any weight in this matter, and I have no doubt I’m simplifying things to excess, but I do think this could offer an elegant solution that, furthermore, would be effective from a nation-building point of view: it wouldn’t just be a matter of knowing that 75% of the country would be eligible for fiber in 2020 but knowing that 75% of the nation would be on fiber by 2025. That kind of certainty could allow massive local and national government rethink of the services they offer for the general good, not to mention the opportunities it would open up for the private sector.

Disclaimer: I have recently done some paid work for Chorus in New Zealand. However, I have not been asked by anyone to write the above, and the views expressed are clearly my own (I’m not sure Chorus would be too happy with the solution I propose anyway…)

Is the Australian NBN on the road to nowhere?

2 Sep

By the time you read this I will be somewhere between Dubaï and Auckland on my way to New Zealand. Ironically the very week of the Australian elections, the week which will decide – amongst other things – the fate of the Australian National Broadband Network I will be as close to Australia as I’ve been in years looking at another NBN and its impact.

It’s even more ironic that the New Zealand fiber NBN, a direct consequence of Australia’s plans for fiber to the premise will likely (if the Australian polls are to be trusted) outlive it’s initiator as the Coalition shifts the ambitious fiber NBN to a run-of-the-mill copper NBN.

As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s a good thing that the Coalition had the foresight not to scrap the heart of the NBN project, ie. the structural separation. I’m not sure they could have done so, but at least they seem not to want to try. If Kevin Rudd gets ousted this week, Australia will get (according to plan) the same broadband every run-of-the-mill developed market is hoping to get by 2020. TNW has an interesting though provocative editorial on that entitled 25Mbps broadband speed by 2019: the stupidest policy ever?

In a sense, I’m not that concerned about where this goes. I have been warning people for a couple of years now that Australia should not be used as a poster child for NBNs or broadband policy. The lack of deployment performance of NBNCo – whatever the reasons – made it painfully obvious to me as an observer of all things broadband internationally that its survival was uncertain, at least in its current state. Australians, like citizens in any other democracy in the world will be voting in their next government for a whole lot of reasons other than the broadband policy each party espouses, and if the NBN in its current state is thrown out with the bathwater at least they will have made that choice knowingly.

However, this will have international consequences in the broadband market and I think it’s would be interesting to think about that for a minute. People who are trying to convince governments and regulators that National Broadband Networks are not the way to go will find fodder there. Similarly, people – and especially incumbent operators – who are trying to convince themselves that it’s better to aim for short-term decent coverage than for long-term secure coverage will also gain weight. There is a non-negligeable chance that the Australian NBN will become a sort of horror story bandied at conferences to justify lack of ambition or status quo policies.

People who like me believe that it makes sense both financially for the private players concerned and economically for the nations concerned to think about a framework that brings fiber at least within a few meters of every home in the country in a relatively short timeframe should prepare for that backlash should the Coalition win in Australia. And perhaps even if it doesn’t: the poor performance of NBNCo will have to be understood and analysed so that the impacts of bad policy decisions if they exist can be separated from the impact of bad implementation.

A couple of years back Diffraction Analysis published a report entitled The Rise and Fall of Dong Energy’s Fibernett. The market loves success stories and tends to focus on those to extremes. I  believe it is just as important if not more important to be aware and understand failures in FTTx. There’s so much more to learn from them. So here’s one consequence for me personally: in the next few months, no matter in which direction Australia goes with its NBN, I need to document and analyse the reasons for the failure so far. These mistakes are the ones that other players need to ensure they avoid!


Photo: Australia 2009 (CC) Stoofstraat

Can the Australian Fiber NBN be radically redesigned?

26 Aug

To say that everything surrounding the Australian NBN is a political can of worms would be an understatement. The general elections in a few weeks, with Labor trailing in the polls, may spell if not the doom at least a radical trimming of NBN’s ambitions. In this context, I stumbled upon this interesting presentation by Simon Hackett entitled Building a Fiber NBN on a Copper Budget. I don’t know who Simon Hackett is, and if he is politically motivated (it seems like everybody is, looking from the outside), and more importantly perhaps, I haven’t done the financial analysis that would allow to assess whether his opening statement is correct.

What’s more interesting to me in this context is that he suggests some interesting ways in which a wholesaler can lower his own investment costs. In a nutshell, he offers three paths (not competing, complementary):

  • Forget about QoS: basically, he argues that bandwidth trumps QoS, and since fiber offers virtually unlimited bandwidth, the complexities and costs of QoS management and more importantly QoS wholesaling should be avoided. I don’t disagree on principle with this one, although the confines of QoS should probably be better defined, but I’m assuming he means “different grades of traffic management”.
  • Drop PSTN (and multiple VLAN capability): Simon’s point is that PSTN is dying and shouldn’t be carried over to the NBN. I agree with him 100% on that one although I’m pretty sure the regulator imposed PSTN continuation to the NBN anyway. But honestly, any fiber deployment done today should have two aspects embedded into its DNA: eliminate copper (long term) and eliminate legacy systems. Not sure I’m quite as bullish on eliminating the ability to deliver separate VLANs. Some services, especially around home security, healthcare, etc. are going to require a fully separated path for security reasons, and until that can be done over WDM, VLANs seem to me to be the only way to go.
  • Let the ISPs pay for the ONT: that’s the most intriguing of Simon’s suggestions. Instead of imposing an ONT paid for by the NBN, he says, the set-up should assume that the ISPs will install the ONT since they will want to install some equipment inside the home anyway. On paper this looks very tempting and financially it could represent significant savings for sure, but I’m concerned this simply couldn’t work for a simple reason: first, unless the NBN forced a vendor onto the ISPs, which seems unlikely to be approved, I’d have serious misgivings about interoperability of the ONTs. This has been a known issue with GPON for a long time and while various vendors have spoken about furthering interoperability in the standards, letting the ISPs pick their ONT vendors would still be a huge leap of faith.


Still, these are some interesting ideas, and at least it’s good that they’re being asked. I’m assuming in saying that there is no political calculation behind them. In which I may very well be wrong.

Still, if Simon Hackett can convince Malcolm Trunbull that he can get a fiber network for the cost of a copper one the Coalition should be trumpeting that left, right and center!

Broadband and Over-the-Top

17 Jun

Plum Consulting has released a really excellent and concise paper on the impact of over-the-top services on the telco business model. It’s entitled (appropriately) Over-the-top – hindering or helping achieve European Digital Agenda goals? If you read me on a regular basis, you will find a lot of the arguments exposed there to be familiar. What I find interesting though is the way they’re framed.

Brian Williamson who wrote the paper notes something important, and that is that the rate of growth of internet traffic, both over fixed and mobile networks is slowing down considerably. The source for this information is Cisco’s own Visual Network Index, hardly a source that could be suspected of downplaying traffic growth. Indeed, there’s a note by Karl Bode on that same topic that’s a little more direct, shall we say. He called it So Much for that Exaflood, Huh? I wish Andrew Odlyzko was still compiling internet traffic growth data like he used to: even back in 2008-2009 he was pointing out that actual growth numbers were systematically lower than predicted growth numbers.

All this to say that the argument that telco lobbyists constantly use that traffic growth is killing them is nonsensical: traffic growth is now lower than the capacity growth enabled by equipment renewal!

Anyway, Plum Consulting’s piece is on the point and recommends three complimentary policy actions (and I quote):

  • Promotion of the principle that consumers should have access to lawful applications and content of their choice.
  • Limiting use of the term “internet access” to those access providers who offer full and non-discriminatory access to lawful internet based applications.
  • Extending the concept of equivalence to internet applications in addition to network access and requiring equal treatment for over-the-top and vertically integrated services.

That last point goes above and beyond anything we have seen in policy circles ever on this topic, and I don’t dream of ever seeing it applied unless telcos start embracing OTT as a delivery mechanism for their own products and services (which some are doing, albeit quietly).

But even the first two bullets, which seem kind of straight-forward, I don’t believe will be implemented. As I wrote this morning in a ZDNet France article (in French) entitled Transparence n’est pas Neutralité (Transparency isn’t Neutrality), Neelie Kroes’s discourse shifted from protecting a neutral internet to demanding an internet where discrimination is transparent.

I’m not optimistic.


Photo Credits: CC Claremont Colleges Digital Library