Q&A: ISPs in 2010 — Unwired

Unwired’s CEO, David Spence, on what the industry can expect in 2010

With the revelation of the NBN, the potential break up of Telstra, the AFACT vs iiNet and ISP-level filtering trials, 2009 has shaped up as quite a year for ISPs. What could be in store in 2010? We ask some of the leading internet service providers. In this edition, Unwired’s CEO David Spence.

Computerworld: What opportunities do you see to grow your business in 2010? David Spence: The insatiable appetitie for speed and downloads. It is not about content — users know where the content is.

How likely do you think it is that Telstra will be broken up? If it is, how will this affect the industry? Telstra won’t be “broken up”. They will do a deal that sees their customers migrate to the NBN access infrastructure as it is built and become separated over time, as is the intent of the legislation.

How do you see the NBN affecting the market in 2010? Hopefully by mid 2010 NBN Co will have engaged with industry so we know what the deployment schedule is. That will allow people to start investing again in areas that need short term fixes. This will be a big opportunity for wireless operators who can service a fixed base until the NBN arrives, then migrate traffic to mobility.

What telecommunications technologies are likely to make a large impact in 2010 and why? The start of 4G. Primarily WiMAX. The LTE (long term evolution) hype cycle will continue but even with “trials” there won’t be services.

How do you see the telecommunications legislative landscape changing in 2010? There really is a host of legislative change needed to follow-up on the NBN stuff.

What do you view the potential impact of the AFACT/iiNet case to be in 2010 whichever way it goes? If iiNet wins we lose — the government will feel the need to legislate to provide more protection from piracy — just as they regulate pawn brokers to restrict the flow of stolen goods. If iiNet loses then we just have to take a greater responsibility for actually knowing who our customers are.

What impact do you see the Federal Government’s proposed mandatory ISP-level filter having in 2010? None. At best the government will make an announcement on their plans in February or March, some legislation will be introduced in the May/June (budget session) of Parliament and it won’t be debated until after the 2010 election (assuming there is no double dissolution).

How will Internet piracy affect ISPs in 2010? ISPs will continue to make a lot of money selling bandwidth to customers, some of whom may be involved in theft and piracy. ISPs will need to show they aren’t blameless or careless, however; in the end — the weight of world pressure to reduce the cost of information will force new models and this fight by old media to protect digital information copyright will be lost.

See some of Computerworld’s other Unwired stories from this year: Unwired: Machine-to-machine the next wireless boom

Wireless broadband war: Unwired fights back

Backhaul partner signed for VividWireless network

Email Computerworld or follow @computerworldau on Twitter.

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