It's all over the top

It's all over the top

Summary: Twisted Wire asks, "what role is there for the telecommunications industry in content, when we seem happy with over-the-top delivery?" FoxtelGo is the latest case in point.

TOPICS: Telcos, NBN, Australia

A few weeks ago, Geoff Huston from the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) said on Twisted Wire that the argument from telcos that we need the managed delivery of content to ensure an adequate quality of service is nothing more than old companies trying to argue their way out of failed business models. In other words, their job is to push bits around; end of story.

Two weeks ago, Foxtel launched FoxtelGo, giving over-the-top access to Foxtel content irrespective of which network you're on. Does this mean that the relationship with Telstra is nothing more than that of a shareholder? "Correct," says Kym Niblock, general manager of Emerging Platforms at Foxtel.

Of course, there's always the risk that disparate networks will react to the success of over-the-top plays. Eli Katz, chair of the UK's Internet Telephony Service Providers' Association, talks about the battle to ensure net neutrality from the fixed and mobile carriers. He sees no reason for any form of network control for voice — it should all run happily over the top.

With faster speeds delivered by the National Broadband Network (NBN), surely it means that everything, even video, can happily be delivered as an over-the-top service. No wonder telcos are laying off so many people.

Do you think carriers still have a role to play in the differentiated delivery of content? Call the Twisted Wire feedback line on 02 8304 5198, or leave a comment below.

Running time: 28 minutes, 05 seconds

Topics: Telcos, NBN, Australia


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • QoS not quantity

    Listening to your guest talking about a tonne of coal and a tonne of gold should be charged the same for freight transport and then saying a bit is in my opinion not a well thought out analogy.

    It seems your guest is perhaps very cynical of Telcos and ignores some technical aspects of how QoS works.
    Using QoS for different tiers of service is not about charging more for 1GB of movies compared to 1GB of emails simply because the application differs. It is about ensuring a better service for a price premium. Of course this only really comes into affect where the network may be congested, but the context provider could weight this up before determining whether they should pay this.

    This is not about Telcos retaining control of the applications, that is a different argument, but should they be able to charge a premium for delivery (which the content provider may pay)?

    This is not new or confined to telecommunications.

    You could argue that having Express Post boxes slows down regular post as a postman has to empty both instead of one. However the benefit is the postal service has an extra revenue stream and the consumer who pays for the premium service gets a faster delivery.

    Does your guest advocate the abolition of expedited shipping or Express Post at a premium price?
    • Re: QoS not quantity

      Let customers choose what QoS they want for which bits, then, and charge them accordingly. Don't try to second-guess them by doing content inspection or port-filtering or any of that nonsense. As far as the network carriers are concerned, bits are bits, nothing more.
  • HFC ???

    I wonder if the need is still there for the Cable TV infrastructure - the HFC that certain sectors were so obsessed with retaining and upgrading which would be at a very substantial cost funded by the taxpayer for a service that will be increasingly limited as time rolls on and needs escalate
    Abel Adamski