Monday, April 03, 2006

How much protection do PTTs deserve?

The Canadian Telecommunications Policy Review Panel calls for deregulation. "There should be a presumption against regulation - the opposite of Canada's current approach." Of course this is interesting in the net neutrality debate, and in the France versus US/Germany approach to broadband.

"The report identifies three particularly important trends: the shift to Internet Protocol (IP) based networks, open network architectures, and convergence of industries. The shift to IP decreases costs, removes barriers to entry, and allows carriers to offer voice, data, television and internet on one platform. Associated with the shift to IP is the opening of network architectures, resulting in a decoupling of
services and applications from the underlying networks. These trends in turn
promote a four-way convergence of industries: traditional telecom, entertainment
and content, consumer electronics, and computing and software."

It reads a lot like Martin Geddes was involved, comparing the report to his views as expressed in this article on UMA at

So, the question is: is the situation bad enough as it is, with Google, Skype et al entering the communications market? If so, PTT's need a little protection from LLU, because cable and internet companies will shrink their business rapidly. This view favors the US/German model.
On the other hand if you believe that the decline is steady but slow, it takes the French model to shrink PTT's, stimulate competition etc.

Finally, net neutrality. Combining the US/German model with no rules on net neutrality, gives PTT's too much of an upperhand (unless you believe in the forces of the cable/telco duopoly, which is impossible in most countries, except for the US, the Netherlands, Belgium and perhaps a few more, like Switzerland).

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