Optus: Google, eBay just as dangerous as network monopolies
CEO’s radical proposal: create a content access regime
While Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) is still top-of-mind for Optus CEO Paul O’Sullivan, he is also concerned how, in a more-connected world, content monopolies can be just as restrictive as network monopolies.
Speaking to the Media Connect “Kickstart” conference in Queensland’s Sanctuary Cove resort, O’Sullivan said that while he is worried about risks to retail competition on the NBN, he can also foresee much greater risks in the longer term – content and application monopolies.
Organisations like Google and eBay, O’Sullivan said, have demonstrated a “winner-takes-all” environment in Internet commerce. He said that for any company wanting to enter a market against a company like Google or eBay found itself facing a “huge cliff edge”.
“We need to think about [content] access in the Internet world in the same way as we provide it in the physical world,” O’Sullivan said. He proposes that Australia needs to consider whether the world of content needs access seeker mechanisms, as exist for physical networks.
The nut of O’Sullivan’s argument is that “physical” monopolies are regulated by access regimes. These include access to Telstra’s network; retailer access to electricity networks; rail operator access to railway networks, and so on. O’Sullivan believes that monopoly control of content is a challenge that needs to be debated and addressed today.
He admitted that the mechanisms for this haven’t yet been considered, but said the reason such a debate is necessary is partly so that mechanisms can be created.
O’Sullivan strayed into the world of the bleeding obvious by agreeing with NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley’s assertion that those who advocate wireless networks as an exclusive alternative for fibre don’t understand the technology: “The physics of the mobile network is such that we can never carry the same speed on wireless as on fibre,” he said. ®
Bleeding Obvious FUD
Yes, it is bleeding obvious that mobile networks complement fibre networks, but those supporting the NBN don't deal in the bleeding obvious, only FUD.
Since I'm not an NBN syncophant, I expect fibre to be used as the backbone, to wireless nodes, and to large buildings like office blocks, appartment blocks, and hospitals, and even to RIMs
Unlike NBN syncophants, I don't expect that to mean that the goverment should be funding a new TV network to every home, based on 1970's science, and using the excuse that it's "for education" and "tele-medicine"
When this white elephent comes to my home, I'm going to be signing up: I love retro-technology. I prefer my Bakelite land-line phone to the mobile, and I've been waiting 20 years to get fibre (the economics were close in 1995). The Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is coming from the other corner: those who are telling us that we need to spend the money on Fibre, or we are going to be left behind by modern societies like HK and Singapore.
Still not sure what this article is about after a couple of reads... Who is Optus and what is the NBN for us non-aussies? What is a seeker mechanism? A little background would be nice.
Is O'Sullivan suggesting that access to websites should be artificially restricted to territories (that are presumably allocated by a regulator or bought), so that local companies have a fair go?
If so, how is that *less* restrictive than the current system where anyone can build a new website (from home, or their Harvard dorm), open it up and potentially attract a worldwide audience?
Not economic for Optus customers to self-host, so of cause they use a content monopoly
Optus has itself to blame to an extent. By pricing the ability for customers to host their own servers out of their household ADSL offerings Optus pretty much force their customers into the hands of other people to handle their content.