Feeds

Sims outlines Oz network regulation again

Calming the debate

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

As the ACCC, under the hand of new chair Rod Sims, settles down to the work of sifting through submissions about NBN wholesale access, there’s probably a sense of relief at the welcome distraction provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Normally, having the new chair of the ACCC discuss the NBN in a speech – as he did on October 10th to the Melbourne Press Club – would give rise to all manner of expert “reading between the lines” to interpret what he said.

But the EIU, by restating its opposition to the NBN in the press release for its six-monthly broadband report, was the attention-grabber of the day, especially when opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull seized on the EIU’s boilerplate to liken the National Broadband Network to Cuba.

So Sims’ statements were largely passed over.

The full speech is here as a PDF, with his comments on the telecommunications sector beginning on page 8.

What’s interesting in Sims’ statements is not that he identifies the live issues in the NBN rollout – but how apparently mild his statements are.

Let’s compare what he said about airports, Internet search and the grocery business to what he said about the NBN:

Airports – “There is considerable concern that the major airports operate as monopolists in their markets … the ACCC agrees.”

Search – “The ACCC did not win in the Federal Court, but there is no question that the law in this rapidly expanding area of commerce needs clarification.”

Supermarkets – “The ACCC can and will watch closely to ensure any such dealings [between supermarkets and suppliers] do not involve unconscionable conduct.”

The NBN – “We intend to engage constructively with NBN, its access seekers and consumers as we settle the regulatory arrangements for the NBN.”

Even his strongest statement about telecommunications – that the market needs a “robust regulatory regime” covering both pricing and network access – seems comparatively sanguine.

And, unlike the EIU, which considers the NBN to be a destroyer of all competition – you can read the AAP treatment here, if you think it’s worth your time – the ACCC has a more measured and accurate description of the network.

“The extensive fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure will be a fixed-line [monopoly] for the supply of input services to telecommunications companies, who in turn provide voice and broadband services to consumers,” he said (our emphasis, and our substitution of “monology” with “monopoly” to fix what looks like a transcription error).

It seems that Sims – and by extension, the ACCC, since his advice is coming from experts within the Commission – believes that the right access arrangements can preserve competition for consumers, and even lead to “continuing reductions in prices”. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.