Monday, March 02, 2009

Home Again

I mentioned that I was chairing the NZ commerce Commission NGN conference Broadband at the crossroads (sic). Some of the presentations and video of the event is now available.

A tremendous line up of speakers, including the four "lead" international guests of Tim Cowen, Benoit Felton*, Scott Marcus and Kip Meek. As well we were joined by Jos Huigens from the Netherlands by video link, as well as a host of great NZ and Australian speakers.

The first observation to make is that the Next Generation Networks still present more challenges than they resolve. The interesting parts that come from each of the above is as follows.

Tim highlighted how important concepts of copyright were to the future of new services and how inadequate the concept built around solid artefacts (books) was to new media. Kip reflected on the importance of industry participation, while Benoit highlighted the opportunity that FTTH rather than FTTN presented. Scott was perhaps the most challenging flagging the need to think differently about IP interconnection, though he said NZ was so far doing it well.

The contrast between this and anything happening in Australia was huge. I wrote in The Exchange this week about the need for a new forum in Australia to discuss issues as an industry. It is interesting to note that NZ's Telecommunications Carriers Forum suffers from the same funding problem as the Communications Alliance. The Broadband Stakeholders Group in the UK receives funding from Government and thus is not beholden to its major shareholders. It is a model worthy of further consideration.**

* I have added Benoit's blog to my blog roll.
** The legislative change that resulted in Comms Alliance being able to be funded by ACMA for consumer codes sprung from my first floating of the idea. My intention had been direct untied funding, effectively out of carrier licence fees, so that the imbalance on direct contributions could be rectified. But as always it got screwed up by the processes.

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