Informa: A comparison of broadband policy: Canada & Australia


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This is a copy of my presentation to the 4th Annual Broadband Australia Forum in Sydney, 11 June 2009.

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Informa: A comparison of broadband policy: Canada & Australia

  1. 1. Broadbanding the Nation A comparison of policy in Canada & Australia Michael de Percy 4th Broadband Australia Forum
  2. 2. <ul><li>I have been comparing broadband outcomes in Canada and Australia since 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Samuel McGowan, a Canadian, brought the telegraph to Australia in 1853 (serendipity) </li></ul><ul><li>McGowan became Superintendent of Telegraph </li></ul><ul><li>The first private telegraph in Australia was shut down by the SA Colonial Government </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the railways! </li></ul>Some history
  3. 3. <ul><li>OECD Ranking June 2008: Canada 10; Australia 16 </li></ul><ul><li>Compared to 2004: Canada 2; Australia 23 </li></ul><ul><li>Penetration: Canada 27.9/100; Australia 23.5/100 </li></ul><ul><li>Households 2007: Canada 64%; Australia 52% </li></ul><ul><li>Akamai Qtr 4, 2008: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average speed: Canada 3786kbps; Australia 2499kbps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>>5mbps: Canada 20%; Australia 9.2% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>>2mbps: Canada 74%; Australia 49% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average price US: Canada $59-76; Australia $61-14 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But, using the Big Mac Index calc on best plan: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Canada 16mbps with 90GB download: AUD $75-21 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Australia 16mbps with 60GB download: AUD $149-95 </li></ul></ul>The Statistics
  4. 4. <ul><li>McGowan brought a copy of the original Canadian legislation to Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Australia has adopted many Canadian court decisions (telegraph… and other like services) </li></ul><ul><li>Common carrier concept </li></ul><ul><li>Similar protection of domestic content in broadcasting </li></ul>Policy similarities
  5. 5. <ul><li>Australia: Build it and they will come </li></ul><ul><li>Canada: Build it or we will build it ourselves </li></ul>Different approaches
  6. 6. <ul><li>Australia: Federal Government has Constitutional responsibility; centralised federalism </li></ul><ul><li>Canada: Originally Federal Government only had jurisdiction to interconnect provinces; decentralised federalism </li></ul><ul><li>Australia: PMG/Telecom/Telstra natural monopoly </li></ul><ul><li>Canada: Provincial/regional natural monopolies </li></ul><ul><li>Australia: ACCC/ACMA (2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Canada: CRTC broadcast & telecoms since 1976 </li></ul>Policy differences
  7. 7. <ul><li>Australia: </li></ul><ul><li>The Telecommunications Act 1997 focuses on: (a) the long-term interests of end-users of carriage services or of services provided by means of carriage services; and (b) the efficiency and international competitiveness of the Australian telecommunications industry. </li></ul>Policy differences
  8. 8. <ul><li>Canada: </li></ul><ul><li>It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada's identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives: (a) to facilitate the orderly development throughout Canada of a telecommunications system that serves to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the social and economic fabric of Canada and its regions; (b) to render reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada </li></ul>Policy differences
  9. 9. <ul><li>Forbearance: The Commission may… exempt any class of Canadian carriers from the… Act… where the Commission, after holding a public hearing … is satisfied that the exemption is consistent with the Canadian telecommunications policy objectives. </li></ul>Regulatory differences
  10. 10. <ul><li>Canada’s sectoral policy style enables faster deployment of broadband technologies and is more amenable to innovative practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of the configuration of the interest networks and coalitions that comprise [the] sectoral policy subsystem and affect its willingness and ability to propose and accommodate new policy ideas and actors </li></ul>Research Findings
  11. 11. <ul><li>Canadian governments (at all levels) facilitate cooperation between businesses and civil society organisations, particularly on a regional/provincial level, in deploying broadband technologies. </li></ul>Research Findings
  12. 12. <ul><li>A regional/local policy focus is more important than a national policy focus in deploying broadband technologies (centrality rather than centralised). </li></ul>Research Findings
  13. 13. <ul><li>Canada's integrated regulatory framework , combined with a broad range of powers which enable greater provincial, municipal and community involvement in broadband infrastructure deployment has contributed significantly to Canada's higher rates of broadband access and speed of the services. </li></ul>Research Findings
  14. 14. <ul><li>Australia: Leo Gray in 1989: </li></ul><ul><li>[W]e do not have a systematic body of communications law which allows new technologies and new uses for old technologies for that matter, to be conveniently slotted in to their correct place in a single integrated regulatory framework (cited on p. 29 of the 1989 Standing Committee on Transport and Communications Infrastructure Report) </li></ul>The Past
  15. 15. <ul><li>Australia’s central control model hinders </li></ul><ul><li>Problems will accelerate as diverged interests converge </li></ul><ul><li>Serendipitous but Canada’s model appears to fast-track adoption and take-up </li></ul>Explanations