Broadband Outlook 2008

Simon Hackett, Internode Founder was quoted in Australian IT providing an outlook towards the future of broadband in 2008.

I find Simon’s views near accurate, of course he has to spin it out towards his own companies agenda, he does afterall buy fast cars and other items of his own personal interest, and that costs a lot of money no doubt, which his loyal fanbois help gather for him.

In the shortest possible words, I see 2008 as being SNAFU, that is, Situation Normal: All Flapped Up. Nothing much is going to change in 2008, it’s a continuation of business for all of the providers as it was in 2007, and 2006, and, well maybe 2005 but there were some interesting changes along that path.

The only key interest items in broadband for this year are the results of the high court challenge launched by Telstra in relation to ULL and LSS services, which is invariably doomed to failure, and will mean that there is no news, but Telstra will look like a big fool for trying something so stupid in the first place anyway. Nothing really interesting happening there.

The next interest item is the FTxx proposal by the Labor Government to deploy a national (despite leaving out a large portion of it) FTTN network (which could be FTTH as well).

I don’t think they’ll decide anything with that in a quick fashion, if they did, it’d be a result to Telstra, there is indeed a legal minefield hanging over that FTTN debate, and should G8 (TPG and Soul are Souled out to each other) get the go ahead, they’ll simply be held back with any and all items of legal action Telstra can launch, so by the time they get started, they might as well have ran duplicate copper wire anyway, which would in turn have made FTTH more viable.

We can of course hope that the government realises that they are asking the wrong question of tenders, it should be what is the real need of an FTTN network.. simply, there is none, sure, some are missing out due to technology impediments and Telstra’s refusal to fix areas up, and competitors not finding it viable to do it themselves either, but they don’t require FTTN to fix, they require upgrading and other work to get them broadband ready.

If we don’t do FTTN, all phone lines coming from exchanges will get ADSL2+. All lines from RIMs will not be able to get anything better than ADSL1 if there is no alternative copper path, meaning that there will be a divide in every suburb anyway as to what is affordable broadband, and what is available.

That’s another issue to tackle, and I don’t think FTTN is going to solve it fairly for everyone involved, either competition loses out, Telstra loses out, or consumers lose out, someone will lose out in FTTN, that’s a near certainty.

We might see a bit more play with WiMAX by Seven’s take over of Unwired, and OPEL should have some towers in the air and DSLAMs built out, and Telstra will have found something else to bitch about or increase prices on, pissing more consumers off driving them to go to Naked DSL, which isn’t exactly ideal for many environments due to the inability of a landline voice service to be ‘always’ working.

Oh, we can’t get aside with out mentioning the few other aspects, the porn filter planned to be compulsory at every ISP will be canned, it’s not going to work, it’s not ideal, no one really wants it except extremists, and ISPs aren’t very interested in being anything but an IP transit service provider (ie. Internet Service Provider, wait, that’s what an ISP is).

And the other one, the attempts at curbing piracy aren’t going to be effective, everyone, including the record labels should know by now that its a cat and mouse game, they try and destroy a technology making it ineffective, and something new will pop up, and the cycle continues.

Do they realise they won’t actually get any closer to solving the underlying problem? I think the real cause of it is some of the items produced that are tried to be marketed are absolute crap not worth paying for.

Plus, a lot of the so called ‘new music’ is just rap crap, that is marketed to criminals, or contributing to the growth of criminals, so they are damaging their own bottom line: Get songs about crime produced, market it to the young teen market who really don’t have much respect for themselves, let alone the law, and yep, you destroy your own bottom line because they are more likely to steal instead of buy.

There are some exceptions to that of course, but there is a reason people aren’t buying the content, and I dare say the quality of it is a BIG part of the reason people choose not to buy (and those that do buy the ‘rap crap’ are senseless morons anyway).

Of the key interests to note in 2008, the most interesting will be the OPEL roll out, as the decisions there affect many of the future aspects of regional and rural broadband.

Oh, I missed another, 2008 will see an attempt to destroy the $2 billion communications fund, destroying regional and rural investment oppourtunities for now and into the future (it’s purpose).

A great government screw up in progress perhaps, because if they go FTTH, then it’s not going to reach anywhere near the proposed area of the $2 billion fund, and if they go FTTN, then they will have destroyed competition in many parts of regional areas, destroying any hope the remainder of users have.

There’s never really much long term thought put into such issues like this is my best guess for why anyone would consider to do something as stupid as destroy a interest earning fund, it’s free money for the government to use to fix issues with communications.

Hopefully it is protected, though I have doubts.

And NSW Government, the incapable lot, should possibly be exposed even further for their claim of free wifi, yet their failure to deliver on it. That is, if the opposition get the balls up to attack them on it. Wishful thinking, isn’t it.

That’s what I see happening in 2008 with broadband, I’m sure there will be more to add as the rest of the year progresses, but that sums it up really. It’s just a slow year, 2009, that’s an entertaining year. PIPE will turn its cable on. OPEL will be up and running, and competing. Telstra will be, well, Telstra.


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