North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Equal access to content

  • From: Christian Kuhtz
  • Date: Thu Nov 03 10:10:25 2005

I think this whole debate is really funny. Back in the days, email was content, USENET was content. Then FTP. Then IRC and the like. Oh, eventually the "Web" emerged. And so on. And somehow, because it's now movies or whatever, the rules changed.

Give me a break.

Truth is, the RBOCs keep trying to treat non-telephony like telephony, and it's fundamentally broken. They keep trying to impose a PSTN billing model on the world and really have trouble with any other models. MSOs are realy the same. Disruptors have emerged and will disrupt the post-mature industry. It's not like this is the heyday, as much as there's an illusion of that in certain boardrooms. Money that could've been used to evolve has been squandered on dividends, inefficiencies etc over periods of decades. MSOs are a bit different there.

So, to now sit here and somehow justify this as is really funny to watch because when all you know is hammers, everything looks like a nail. And it'll work for a while. Screws will go in eventually. But at some point you'll figure out that you're just out of luck because you haven't spent any money being near the leading edge, the 'fast follower' monicker has become a joke all in itself, and you're not able to figure out what else you need to add to the toolset before all other costs eat you alive (pension funds, healthcare, costs to maintain existing 'paid for' infrastructure that has finally reached its limits for good, etc -- there are enough riders of the apocalypse). So, your hammer will be inefficient and you will have no money left to buy a next gen hammer. Or if you do, all other lines of revenue that sustain you will suffer and break your back. It's a catch 22.

Or that's my admittedly cloudy crystal ball.

Now, they all got what it takes to be successful. The rbocs with their yellow pages were the google advertising revenue of decades past. They got the basic elements, but they cannot innovate themselves out of a wet paper bag because they're all terrified of cannibalization of existing revenue. Only if they do cannibalize, they stand a chance. And if that's no executed right, it'll break their spines in the process as their dividend happy investors will dump them wholesale.

And, let's not forget that the RBOCs aren't the only ones doing this. MSO perspectives are just as bad. MSO's are actually much more protective of their 'content' and how gets to do what on their network for what price. And at some point in the future, they both will look like a lot of energy companies (or steel, pick your poison).

The content debate is nicely spun, but it's really ridiculous hype. What people derive value from is what 'content' is. But apparently the industry has as a whole fallen into this spin trap.

Particularly how ownership has replaced licensing in all this. Ownership doesn't even exist in some virtual reference.

I can't help but find all this amusing.