The Wonderful World of Andrew Odlyzko

Every so often you are researching some different topics and the same name crops up. That had happened to me this year, and the name was Andrew Odlyzko. Continue reading “The Wonderful World of Andrew Odlyzko”

Local broadband solutions

Not surprisingly, the publicity surrounding my report on broadband brought with it lots of contact with folks who are already putting local solutions into practice. Some of these were outlined in the government’s broadband blueprint. Continue reading “Local broadband solutions”

Broadband in the AFR

An opinion piece that summarises my position on broadband has come out in today’s Australian Financial Review. Full text over the fold. Continue reading “Broadband in the AFR”

Blueprint for broadband

Isn’t that always the way? Just one day after the release of my own report on the subject, a nice glossy report from the Federal government has come out. The Broadband Blueprint outlines the state of play on broadband (same message as my report) but also, encouragingly, the idea that all layers of government need to play a role.

In moving forward, the Australian Government will continue to work closely with state, territory and local governments to streamline initiatives to encourage investment in next generation broadband infrastructure. A coordinated effort across all jurisdictions, based upon the complementary roles of Australian, state, territory and local governments, is important to maximise the incentives for investment in next generation broadband infrastructure.

What a good idea. Will someone tell Telstra?

Localising the broadband debate

Today marks the release of a report commissioned by CEDA and written by me on broadband. It is entitled “The Local Broadband Imperative: Appropriate high-speed Internet access for Australia.” (It is available here). Continue reading “Localising the broadband debate”

Greenstein on Net Neutrality

Shane Greenstein is one of the least known, best writers about economics and technology for the non-economist. He has put down his thoughts on net neutrality this month (something I have blogged about before too). Greenstein outlines a bunch of potentially worrisome scenarios and dismissing each as relatively implausible. Put simply, through a different route he comes to my conclusion that the only thing we have to fear is market power itself.

For the love of Skype

People do this all the time but I thought I would briefly comment on how wonderful Skype is. For the first time while travelling (and after a few teething problems between Mac-PC communication) I have been able to see my family.

Moreover, I was having trouble picking up my mobile messages (the Optus system didn’t recognise my Blackberry’s # key). I called using a hotel phone. Not only did it have the same recognitiion issues but a 30 second attempt cost me US$23! Those rates have skyrocketed to exploit those without mobiles. So I got on the troubleshooting page. The voice mail number had a link — call this number using Skype — and I did. So without Skype the Optus system doesn’t work. Oh, the irony.

The way forward on broadband: Just ignore Telstra

An interesting report today on new housing estates putting in fibre to the home (FTTH). They appear to be using the buyer power (and competitive tendering) that comes from the release of many lots to drive the costs down (to $1800 per lot). This will enable speeds of up to 100Mbps; comparable to what is available generally in Korea and Japan. All this without Telstra and without the half way plan of fibre to the node (FTTN). It will be interesting to see whether demand for the service justifies the cost. If so, then local developments will be a way of bypassing Telstra (and others) and getting world-class broadband.

No USO for broadband

The recent debate in Australia over FTTN has centered around the vexing issue of “economies of scale.” The argument is that FTTN requires a big lump of investment. Unless private firms can be assured of earning a decent rate of return on that entire lump, it is not worth investing. At present, for that stated reason, none of the investment is supposedly taking place. Continue reading “No USO for broadband”