Friday, December 5, 2008

ITU Advocates Infrastructure Sharing

[It is interesting to see that the last redoubt of the monopoly telco – the ITU - is now advocating infrastructure sharing. Infrastructure sharing has been as fact of life where there is intense competition, as for example with cell phone towers in the USA. Few cellular companies now own cellular towers or the associated transmission gear. Instead they contract with companies like America Tower that specialize in the business of operating and maintaining cellular towers and transmission gear for a number of carriers, while the carriers themselves focuses on their core competency of providing cell phone services. Similarly last mile business models, as advocated by Google policy staff such as “Home with Tails” is another example where “condominium” sharing of infrastructure enables new business opportunities and significantly lowers costs for all competitors – large and small. Thanks to Frank Coluccio for this pointer – BSA]

ITU Advocates Infrastructure Sharing to Counter Investment Drought

In response to the global financial crisis which may make it more difficult for investors to obtain financing for continuing network development, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is advocating infrastructure sharing as a means to continue to rapid rollout of network resources to under-served populations. In its newly published annual report, Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six Degrees of Sharing, the ITU examines the sharing of civil engineering costs in deploying networks, promoting open access to network support infrastructure (poles, ducts, conduits), essential facilities (submarine cable landing stations and international gateways) as well as access to radio-frequency spectrum and end-user devices.


Additional papers were commissioned by ITU as discussion papers and were written by various lawyers/regulators. See: .

Legal and free: TV show and movies over the Internet

[For those outside of the USA, we can only dream of such developments. Geo-blocking and regulation is preventing the rest of the world access to many of these tools in the USA. But they will come someday and will fundamentally change the business model for the cablecos. Someday consumers will rebel against bundling, channel relocation and forced fed cultural content. Thanks to Dewayne Hendricks for this pointer—BSA]

If you would like to learn why popular TV shows and movies are being made available legally on the Internet for free and how we can get them to our televisions, this interview is for you.
Our guest today is Will Richmond who is the editor and publisher of VideoNuze, an online publication for broadband video decision-makers. VideoNuze concentrates on the emerging Internet Video industry. Will has prior experience in the CATV industry thereby providing valuable perspective on how the sector reacts to developments. This is important because cable companies are the leading providers of broadband Internet access along with being the dominant networks delivering conventional television programs.
As noted in earlier podcasts, a number promising websites are emerging that host, or index, advertising-supported Internet Video of popular TV shows and movies. Examples include Hulu, Fancast, Veoh,, and AOL Video. They’re great for consumers because they are free to the viewer and completely legal.
In our analysis the emergence of such websites could prove to represent the “tipping point” at which consumers push hard enough to find ways to get Internet Video streams to display on their televisions. ABC, NBC, and CBS have all made popular shows available online. There are also hundreds of popular, or once popular, movies from major Hollywood studios available at the websites noted above.
As users get increasingly accustomed to sites like Hulu, they find that they like the convenience of on-demand viewing, personalization of selections, viral sharing of program recommendations, community commentary, email notifications of show postings, and the abundance of interesting programming. Intense users are even avoiding CATV or satellite service. For example, Will’s research concludes that most subscribers will cut CATV service before they cut ISP (Internet Service Provider) service. This is particularly relevant given the current economic downturn.
However, Will’s research also concludes that the cable networks, like ESPN, and AMC, will be reluctant to provide shows to websites like Hulu. He reasons that they will decline to put at risk the traditional fees they collect from CATV operators.

How Canada Fought Bad Copyright Law: Showing Why Copyright Law Matters

[Great post and kudos to Michael Geist in leading the charge in Canada. I also highly recommend Michael’s blog -- BSA]

How Canada Fought Bad Copyright Law: Showing Why Copyright Law Matters (Culture)
by Michael Masnick from the sit-back-and-watch dept on Thursday, December 4th, 2008 @ 4:10AM
You may recall, just about a year ago, there was suddenly a bunch of news over the possibility of Canada introducing its own version of the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). To the surprise of both the entertainment industry (who helped craft the law) and the politicians who were pushing it, the opposition to this law was incredibly successful in getting its message out. Starting with calls on various blogs and Facebook groups, kicked off by law professor Michael Geist, the issue became a big one throughout the media. The politicians who promised the entertainment industry that they would pass this law tried to delay the introduction, assuming that the opposition, while loud, was thin and would fade away. They were wrong. The issue continued to get attention, and when the law was finally introduced, the opposition, across the board, was widespread and strong. It wasn't just a fringe issue among "internet activists." It was something that people from all over the economy saw as a fundamental issue worth fighting for.

But why?

For years, copyright (and wider intellectual property) law has been considered to be sort of inside baseball, something that only lawyers and the entertainment industry cared about. But that's been changing. There are a variety of reasons for why this happened and why copyright is considered a key issue for so many people in so many parts of the economy. Michael Geist has now put together a film that tries to examine that question. After first discussing how the issue became such a big deal, Geist interviews a number of Canadian copyfighters to get a sense of why copyright is an issue worth fighting about:
Not surprisingly, Geist has also made the movie available in a variety of different formats so people can do what they want with it, including remixing or re-editing it. There's the full version (seen above), an annotated version, a version for subtitling, or you can download the full movie via BitTorrent at either Mininova or Vuze. Unless, of course, you live somewhere where they claim that BitTorrent is evil and must be blocked.