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* Posts by John Smith

4 posts • joined 27 Sep 2007

Ofcom flashes cash guarantees at BT for fibre investment

John Smith

No Way Jose

Incentivise BT to invest in fibre ?? B*******!! Why pay an inefficient, highly dominant operator to do something that an independent, more efficient organisation could do cheaper, quicker and better. Start by fully separating Openreach from BT and letting private equity and the rest of the industry invest in it, that should reduce the headcount by 30% in quick order. Monopoly might not be so bad when it is wholesale only and separated from the retail side, and is appropriately regulated to ensure its customers' (all the operators) needs are being met. It's crazy to try and encourage competing infrastructures - that was tried with the cable operators, of which we now have only one, heavily indebted example.. - re-use the existing duct network, fibre it and regulate appropriately.

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C&W closes in on Thus acquisition

John Smith

C&W - Thus was it ever so....

Yup, C&W will only be interested in the network and the business customers, Demon will certainly be ditched..... so the following experience may be salutary:

As an ex-C&W Bulldoggy, I recently received a letter from Pipex telling me I was being transferred from Bulldog to Pipex Homesomething, and doubling the price to £25 for 8Mbps.... I told them I wasn't interested, but (since Bulldog>Pipex>Tiscali) if they could transfer me to the Tiscali £12.99 package I'd stay with them... Answer - no can do, but if you change to Pipex we'll be able to transfer you to the Tiscali deal, later.... Result - I took the MAC code, called up Tiscali and I'm waiting to see what sort of (Bull)doggy-do I've got myself into.....

Wont do much for my C&W stock....

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Mobile termination fees go to Competition Commission

John Smith

Termination fees - sanity please

If you use something belonging to someone else, you generally have to pay for it, otherwise there is no funding to keep that "something" in existence. Mobile networks require funding just like all other infrastructure and their (wholesale) charging for terminating calls to their customers is entirely justified.

What is not justified is the level of charges that mobile companies have historically charged for termination, which have allowed them to subsidise the cost of handsets (how did you think all those "free" phones were paid for?). The time has come for the mobile operators to move to cost-orientated termination charges (just like the fixed networks eg BT) and Ofcom and the EC regulators are trying to push this through. Support them in the interests of competition!

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Ofcom primes broadband afterburner

John Smith

Back to the 80s...

Before BT was privatised, we (the taxpayer, via government) dictated what development of the telecoms network took place - or rather we didn't and it was very slow and unresponsive. Privatisation and competition were supposed to deliver choice, service and investment, which they did to a degree, but mainly in short-term price arbitrage, and you cannot say that 25 years on we have a thriving and competitive marketplace - just BT, the mobile operators and a few struggling and ever-consolidating fixed line operators.

Unfortunately the strategic asset, which is BT's local loop and duct network, was given away at BT's privatisation and we have been dancing around the handbags since then, trying to get it back. Openreach is just another fig-leaf in the long process of prising BT's fingers off the local loop.

There is no incentive for BT to invest in fibre in the short-term oriented market which pervades the industry. The only way to get fibre investment is to remove the local access network from BT's ownership and to place it in a form of common ownership - perhaps like that suggested below. Yes taxpayers will pay, but perhaps we're just returning the money we took out of the industry in selling our BT shares....

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