Over at ABC’s The Drum opinion website, I’ve written a piece that argues the National Broadband Network won’t kill competition in the telco industry.
They did the headline, not me, but I do like it.
The article explains the structure of the telco industry before getting to the key points.
In most parts of Australia, the only CAN [customer access network] has been Telstra’s copper network. The NBN will replace that with NBN Co’s optical fibre CAN — at least for 93% of the population, roughly any location with a population of 1000 or more. In other words, the NBN replaces an ageing CAN that’s reaching the limits of its capacity technically, with a new one that provides vastly increased capacity for the future.
What doesn’t change is the fact that customers, both domestic and business, can still choose whichever retail telco offers the best deal for them. That is, there’s still the same capacity for competition between telcos. The only difference is that those retail telcos are provisioning their services via NBN Co fibre rather than Telstra copper.
[I give a few examples and then…]
[T]o claim that telco competition will end because of an “NBN monopoly” is as silly as claiming there’s no competition in the road transport industry because everyone has to use the same monopoly public-funded roads. Different freight companies use those same roads to deliver different styles of service at different prices, and competition seems healthy enough.
The Australian Communications Consumers Action Network just described it as the most factually accurate piece they’ve seen in weeks. That’s flattering but seems over the top. But I will say that I’m happy the article — particularly as this morning broadcast radio arsehole Alan Jones is claiming the exact opposite. And we know what he’s like with facts.
There’s also an article by Alan Kohler that analyses the Telstra-NBN deal from a financial perspective. Well worth a read.
Stilgherrian’s links for 22 October 2009 through 27 October 2009, published after far too long a break. I really, really do need to work out a better way of doing this…
- Nature Child | San Juan Islander: “According to family studies professor, Sandra Hofferth of the University of Maryland, there was a 50% decline between 1997 to 2003 in the proportion of children 9 to 12 who spent time in outdoor activities (hiking, walking, fishing, beach play and gardening).”
- FreeRangeKids: “At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age children go outside, they need a security detail.”
- How far did you roam as a child? | Watershed: Educator John Larkin continues the thoughts about wrapping our kids in cotton wool.
- How children lost the right to roam in four generations | Mail Online: In 1919, an 8yo was allowed to walk six miles to go fishing. Today, an 8yo isn’t allowed past the end of the street without parental escort. This article from 2007 triggered many thoughts, and I’ve glad I found it again.
- Forget the young pretenders, Humans 1.0 can lead the way | The Observer: John Naughton riffs off the idea that teenagers don’t know everything and some parts of cyberspace (ugh!) are teenager-free. Although the article then says that “only” 11% of Twitter’s users are under 17 years old. And what proportion of the literate population is under 17yo? 11%? More? Less?
- Podcasting Equipment Guide (2009) | Hivelogic: A nice guide to the tools needed to podcast on a budget. Yes, there’s a reason I’m looking at this. Stay tuned, as they say.
- Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network | Parliament of Australia: Full transcripts of the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network public hearings, which I’m tagging for my own reference later.
- What Information is “Personally Identifiable”? | Electronic Frontier Foundation: Gender, ZIP code and birth date are enough to uniquely identify about 87% of the US population. This has massive implications for publishing data sets, and for privacy policies that claim not to collect “personally identifiable” information.
- Nine News twittered by seagull | TV Tonight: It’s nothing to do with Twitter, but there is a seagull. A very big seagull.
- Apology for singing shop worker | BBC News: Shop assistant Sandra Burt, 56, from Clackmannanshire, was threatened with a fine for singing without a license by the Performing Right Society. However they’ve now apologised and sent flowers.
- Online Ads Not Working for You? Blame the Creative | Advertising Age: A study by Dynamic Logic says that obsession about optimisation and placement is less important.
- We can’t turn back the tide of internet piracy, says TV boss | Herald Scotland: “Internet piracy is merely demand where appropriate supply does not exist,” says the commissioning editor for education at the UK’s Channel 4.
- Court tweets sustained but paper still lurks | ZDNet Australia: Liam Tung, who tweeted from the AFACT v iiNet trial in the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney, reflects on the gaps in courtroom IT.
- Beats and Tweets: Journalistic Guidelines for the Facebook Era | NPR: Yet another exploration of ethics an journalism. One point in here I really do not like, though: “You must not advocate for political or other polarizing issues online. This extends to joining online groups or using social media in any form (including your Facebook page or a personal blog) to express personal views on a political or other controversial issue that you could not write for the air or post on NPR.org.” Sorry? Work for NPR and you lose your right to participate in democracy?
- Poles, Politeness and Politics in the age of Twitter | The New Adventures of Stephen Fry: Another fine if perhaps rambling essay from Mr Fry about the meaning of “influence” and accidentally gaining same. Worth a leisurely read.
- Why journalism's all a-Twitter | The Walkley Foundation: The editorial chief of Sydney’s forthcoming Media140 conference goes beyond the obvious “Is Twitter journalism?” and mechanical how-to issues and explores the ethical issues of journalists using Twitter.
- Twitter in the court: Federal judge gets it | CNET News: Another article about using Twitter in courtrooms, from the US an from March 2009.
- Call For Opinions | Blackbeard Blog: Tom Ewing’s collection of opinions on market research and social media, “quite unsupported by anything other than grumpiness and prejudice”. The first is that “insights” aren’t Zen koans. “If you can express something that briefly, it’s probably banal.”
- The internet doesn’t exist | Business Spectator: Ah, Alan Kohler! I do so love your commentaries! Here’s more of his sensible thoughts on the matter of paying for “content” on the Internet.
- How Safe is the HPV vaccine? | Information Is Beautiful: A brilliantly simple infographic showing the incredibly low risk of associated with the Human Papillomavirus compared with various everyday activities.
- Ultimate Goat Fansite: Do I need to explain? I thought not.
Here are the web links I’ve found for 12 September 2009 through 19 September 2009, posted not-quite-automatically.
- Steak House or Gay Bar?: Can you pick the steakhouses from the gay bars, just by their names? It’s harder than you might thing!
- Greenpeace frees ocean life from Pacific longliner | Greenpeace Australia Pacific: Greenpeace’s report on their ship Esperanza “freeing tuna, sharks, marlin and an endangered sea turtle from a Taiwanese longliner”, the Ho Tsai Fa 18. Or, as I prefer to label it, Greenpeace committing piracy and endangering the lives of mariners going about their business.
- Fish Now, Pay Later | Greenpeace Australia Pacific: Darren Smith told me the article on dolphin-safe tuna wasn’t right, that Greenpeace didn’t support any kind of industrialised fishing. Here’s what Greenpeace is currently doing in the Pacific.
- The ecological disaster that is dolphin safe tuna | Southern Fried Science: By promoting “dolphin-safe tuna” — I prefer to spell it with a hyphen thusly — we’ve ended up with a system that’s unsafe for pretty much everything else.
- Meet my hot new stripper wife / Turns out the mid-life crisis is a cruel global phenomenon. Can it be stopped? | Mark Morford: Mark Morford is rapidly becoming one of my favourite writers. In this piece from February 2008 he explains a man’s mid-life crisis rather too well. And entertainingly. I’ll never be able to listen to Justin Timberlake in the same way again.
- The Lost Seasons | ABC: More details of the Australian Aboriginal six-season cycle, including a nice explanation of the system used by the Sydney basin’s D’harawal people.
- War 2.0: Political Violence & New Media | ANU Department of International Relations: I’ve been invited to attend this 2-day symposium in Canberra on 7-8 October. Now, to figure out who’s paying for it, which will be the key factor in deciding whether I can go.
- Jimmy Carter says that tea baggers hate President Obama because he's black | The Root: The former president points out a truth so self-evident you wonder how it could possibly be controversial. But controversial it is. Has modern journalism become so timid that it can’t handle the truth?
- Understanding the Telstra d-i-v-o-r-c-e | SearchNetworking.com.au: Richard Chirgwin’s backgrounder explains just how difficult it will be to separate Telstra into separate wholesale and retail divisions.
- The next generation bends over | 37signals: The makers of Basecamp, something I use every day, reckon the sale of online accounting software Mint to Intuit, the makers of Quicken and Quickbooks, is “indicative of a VC-induced cancer that’s infecting our industry and killing off the next generation”.
- Kid Cannabis | Rolling Stone: “How a chubby pizza-delivery boy from Idaho became a drug kingpin.” It’s just another product distribution business, just illegal.
- Rudd & Conroy Gambling On Mandatory Internet Censorship Working | broowery.com: An odd statistical analysis of the likelihood of stumbling across banned material online.
- ACMA Blacklists Iran Protest Video & Boing Boing: Another example of why the ACMA blacklist process is seemingly out of step with what the community might want. That’s not ACMA’s fault, they’re just implementing a dodgy policy.
- Why Sol Trujillo should be sued for stuffing up Telstra: Kohler | SmartCompany: There’s so many historical analyses of Telstra coming out this week, what with the government announcing its break-up and n’all. This one is marvellous.
- 2009 Menzies Lecture by John Howard (full text) | The Australian: “In the Australian context the adoption of a Charter or Bill of rights would represent the final triumph of elitism in Australian politics,” reckons our former Prime Minister. A fascinating read if only for its disingenuous use of political rhetoric and coded messages rather than rational argument.
- Oil Rocks | BLDGBLOG: Imagine a city of 5000 people built on stilts and causeways some 45km out into a lake. Well, it exists, and it’s called Oil Rocks, in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan.
- The Mushroom Tunnel of Mittagong | BLDGBLOG: A fascinating look, with photos, of a mushroom farm inside a disused railway tunnel. The tunnel itself is still government property, with the farm existing on a 5-year lease.
- Death by Information Overload | HBR.org: “New research and novel techniques offer a lifeline to you and your organization,” it says.
- The Economics of Sex Work | Core Economics: Good to see an update of knowledge since I did a little research on the sex industry for ABC Radio all those years ago.
- CHART OF THE DAY: Primetime On Facebook Is Monday To Wednesday | Silicon Valley Insider: “Social media marketers, take note. The best days to spam, erm, publish wall posts on Facebook that you want your ‘fans’ to pay attention to are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.”
Here are the web links I’ve found for 10 August 2009 and some days beforehand, posted automatically, kinda.
- Teens Don’t Tweet… Or Do They? | apophenia: Mashable reported some new statistics on Twitter usage with the headline “Teens Don’t Tweet”;. This article debunks that idiocy.
- Why I believe in the link economy | MediaFile: Chris Ahearn, who’s President, Media at Thomson Reuters, provides an interesting counterpoint to Associated Press’ aggressive anti-linking views.
- What’s a Big City Without a Newspaper? | NYTimes.com: This feature starts off with a long nostalgic waffle about newspapers, but towards the end it has some excellent points about how journalism may adapt to the new world.
- Hunter S Thompson Motivational Posters | Sloshspot Blog: Yes, the world needs Hunter S Thompson motivational posters. It truly does.
- The Communications Market 2009 (August) | Ofcom: The UK communications regulatory authority’s latest industry statistics.
- TVS – Television Sydney: Community TV station TVS has a website — which is nothing new, except that I just discovered that their program are streamed live as well as being broadcast on UHF analog.
- eCrime Symposium panel discussion | Risky Business: One of the panel discussions from last week’s eCrime Symposium in Sydney, featuring: Rachel Dixon, who’s a technology executive for online media group Viocorp, as well as being the deputy chair of consumer group CHOICE; Phil Argy, head of the Technology Dispute Centre, and Sean Richmond from Sophos. The panel was hosted by Nigel Phair, and there’s a question from me.
- Mission control | SomaFM: Apollo mission radio feeds from NASA mixed with ambient electronica. Suitably excellent listening.
- Rupert and the death of hubris – Alan Kohler | Business Spectator: A solid analysis of Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that News Corporation will pull its content behind paywalls.
- Watch the Ebb and Flow of Melbourne Trains | FlowingData: From Australian data visualisation team Flink Labs, a fascinating overview of Melbourne’s railway network in action.
- Internet Filter Plan From Stephen Conroy Won’t Work: DPP | theage.com.au: Earlier this week, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery QC, was rather sceptical of the Rudd government’s plans to “filter” the Internet.
- Canberra Players League’s All Star Game 2009 | Dnosauria: Not bookmarked because I’m interested in basketball, but because Dean trialled using Livestream.com to put the video online. Live. Seems it’s a batter choice than Ustream, which is what I’d been using until now. I may check it out.
Amazing! A bunch of media people gathered at the ABC’s Sydney headquarters last week to discuss the future of journalism, and not one of them whinged about those awful bloggers. Hurrah! Unlike July 2008, when journos were still looking for someone to blame, the debate has finally moved on.
That’s how my piece for Crikey today begins. It’s an overview of the ABC forum I was at the other day.
Quotes from Crikey publisher Eric Beecher, Alan Kohler, News Limited’s Campbell Reid, UTS journalism lecturer Wendy Bacon and former leader of the Libery Party, John Hewson.
ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra is holding a forum this evening: Quality Journalism: How to pay for it? Does it matter? And I’ll be there.
Host Geraldine Dougue (pictured) will be joined by Eric Beecher (Publisher Crikey and Business Spectator), Wendy Bacon (Centre for Independent Journalism, UTS), Alan Kohler (Publisher, Business Spectator and Eureka Report), John Hewson (Liberal Party Federal Leader, 1990-1994) and Campbell Reid (Group Editorial Director, News Ltd).
I’m reporting on it for tomorrow’s Crikey email, and of course it’ll be broadcast on Saturday Extra on Saturday morning 11 April.
If you want a preview, follow my Twitter stream from 6pm this evening Sydney time.