30 September 2005

Conversion to HDTV

We haven't discussed this yet in class, but this article provides a good introduction to the topic. It is also an excellent example of how an external event can stimulate the deployment of policy changes. Reallocation like this is painful (to stakeholders) can be painful and difficult. How should a change he made when it isin the public interest that requires real costs on the stakeholders?

WSIS update

Here is an item from today's NY Times (registration required).There continues to be a tug-of-war over the future control over the Internet. At WSIS, this is one of the key issues. Here is a quote:

"The European decision to back the rest of the world in demanding the creation of a new international body to govern the Internet clearly caught the Americans off balance and left them largely isolated at talks designed to come up with a new way of regulating the digital traffic of the 21st century.

"It's a very shocking and profound change of the EU's position," said David Gross, the State Department official in charge of America's international communications policy. "The EU's proposal seems to represent an historic shift in the regulatory approach to the Internet from one that is based on private sector leadership to a government, top-down control of the Internet."

Do you think the locus of control should be private and based in the US?

28 September 2005

BusinessWeek on Verizon's fiber buildout

Viewing this requires a subscription for now (probably it will be free next week). In it, Olga Karif examines Verizon's offering over the fiber that they are pulling to the home in selected cities. She argues that the payback on this investment is at least ten years out (more if a significant price ware ensues). The article also discusses the various regulatory approvals from states and municipalities that it must win to offer this service. To me, this shows that the US has a ways to go yet to smoothe the path for investment and entry into telecommunications.
  • How would the draft telecommunications bill (or alternative ideas, such as those proposed by the PFF) help?
  • Should Verizon have more flexibility (and less friction) to carry out this business plan?

More on GoogleNet ...

So the "stealth" GoogleNet appears to be taking form ... see this post. I was intrigued by the notion of letting the "buzz" do the marketing for them.

ZD Net noted the following:

"Maybe Google Ads, tied to mobile presence?

"Say they know you are in NYC's Bryant Park. Bryant Park is right next to the main branch of the New York Public Library. That's a place frequented by lots of educated readers, computer users, researchers - and hmm, Google users, too.

"OK, let's think about it some more. Maybe if I am a Google salesperson in the NYC office, I visit nearby merchants and sell them Google AdWords?

"Google AdWords or Google AdSense tied to mobile presence? Definitely.

26 September 2005

Arab mobile communications blog

Here is an interesting blog to follow ... on Arab mobile communications . This is the first one that I have come across with such a regional focus.

Municipal networks

Municipal networks, as Dr. Shin posted earlier on this blog, are a topic of interest in telecommunications. Now, Om Malik reports that the total market size of municipal networks in the US could be close to $700 million for equipment manufacturers. It may not surprise you, then, that they might be encouraging municipalities to make the investment.

I find it ironic that, after a decade of privatizing communication networks throughout the world, that this tred exists.

BT spins off local loop operations

This is a very interesting note on Om Malik's blog. Lacking more details, this appears to partition the telephone network in the UK into separate access provision (local loop) and service provision (switching) companies. The access provision business, which will apparently be called "openreach". This is something that has been under discussion among academics for some time ... the idea is that a separate access division will be indifferent to service providers, levelling the field for service competitors. Is this a tacit acknowledgement that, perhaps, the local loop is a "natural monopoly"?

22 September 2005

Forbes article on Broadband penetration

Lisa DiCarlo, writing in Forbes Magazine, reports that broadband uptake in the US is on the decline. This is based on a paper at the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, which will be taking place this weekend in Washington. TPRC is one of the premier conferences in the field. The papers are on-line ... I encourage you to take a look!

Huston's Policy Questions for the Internet

This article points to some of the issues that we will be dealing with in the future. At its conclusion, it points to the upcoming WSIS even, which I adddressed in an earlier entry in this blog.

20 September 2005

Google WiFi service?

There have been a few stories around lately about Google's entry into computer networking, starting with a report in Business 2.0 in addition to this Reuters article from today. The Business 2.0 article claims that Google could save money by avoiding transit fees it incurs from interconnecting with Internet backbone providers.

I am doubtful about this claim, because backbone providers are willing to peer with others only when traffic flow is symmetric. Going to a separate network, as these articles suggest, would enable Google to bypass backbone providers entirely for at least a portion of thie search. Is this a reasonable strategy? Is this a way for Google to leverage network economics to its advantage? Would Google be able to offer new services? Is this effectively a replay of the Western Union/AP deal of the 1860s?

19 September 2005

EuroTelco Blog

For those of you with a particular interest in European matters, check out this blog.

16 September 2005

New Telecom Bill proposed in US

Om Malik, an industry observer and reporter for Business 21.00, reported that a new ,telecom bill has been proposed in the US Congress. Time will tell if this proposal gains traction and works its way through the legislative process. Stay tuned...

Here is the PFF's first response.

15 September 2005

Canadian Telecommunications Policy Review

I would like to draw your attention to an ongoing review of Canadian Telecommunications Policy. The second round comment period ends today. The submitted comments are all available on line.

I would like to point out some procedural elements that are noteworthy. First, the publication of a consultation paper. Second, the publication of terms of reference. Third, the availability of two comment periods -- one for initial comments and the other for clarification/rebuttal. Why and how are each of these elements useful and important? You might also take a sampling of some of the submitted comments; do they reflect the positions you might expect? Were you able to think of a viewpoint that was not represented?

14 September 2005

CityWide WiFi Network

The city of Philadelphia has a plan to deploy a citywide WiFi network as a low-cost solution to provide a broadband Internet access to the low-income residents. ($20 / month) If cities are creating public funded wireless broadband network, what would be an impact on commercial WiFi providers such as T-mobile and Wayport? Do we need to wait for WiMax technology, which has a broader coverage than WiFi? (http://www.news.com, Philly narrows Wi-Fi equipment choice)

Hurricane Katrina and telecommunications policy

There have been a number of comments related to telecom policy generally and Hurricane Katrina. The New America Foundation points to ways in which past spectrum policy failures may have contributed to the slower responses. Not surprisingly, a Congressman was critical of support for public safety communications.

The FCC has created a website to facilitate recovery efforts.

Mobile standards and developing countries

The report in the URL points to growth in GSM use in Latin America due to the decline in TDMA. The last paragraph of the report is significant, and why both AT&T wireless and Cingular (prior to their merger) independently chose to migrate to GSM from TDMA (and not CDMA) -- cheaper handsets. This is primarily because GSM is a simpler technology, therefore cheaper to implement. Scale economies also play a role, as GSM has the larger market share worldwide by a large margin (over CDMA).

The primary advantage of migrating from TDMA to CDMA is that the migration to 3G is less disruptive and (potentially) less expensive for the service providers.

13 September 2005

Wireless substitution for wireline service

The Yankee Group recently published a report on the substitution of wireless for wireline service. Nobody disputes that this is an ongoing trend. The question is, when will it stop. Do you have both wireless and wireline service? If so, why haven't you cancelled the wireline service? If not, how are you meeting you voice, data, and video communication needs?

Another interesting question is what the wireline carriers should do in response to this trend. Should they abandon their infrastructure and write it off (eg. shrink as a company)? Should they transform their infrastructure in some way? If the latter, how?

12 September 2005


Much of the literature treats privatization as an event. As this story points out, it is better to view it as a multi year process ...

In similar fashion, the privatization of Telstra, the Australian incumbent, is not yet complete either.

CRS Report on Telecom Act

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is an arm of the US Congress that is tasked with researching topics of interest to congressmen. These are not published broadly by the CRS. Instead, they are available through elected officials. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) has begun an "Open CRS" project, where they post reports that have been obtained by others.

The report at this URL is of interest to you as students in this course.


OECD ICT indicators

This is potentially useful. It is an ongoing compendium of ICT indicators from OECD countries. These kinds of data can be extremely helpful in analysis. Visit the following URL for more details.