One unexpected outcome from all the work involved in preparing the Market Clarity Telecom Infrastructure Atlas for publication was how well it illustrates the relationship between telecommunications infrastructure and other infrastructure – the way that systems such as backhaul fibre networks follow pre-existing corridors wherever possible.
Market Clarity Newsletter
Many people have warned that the regulatory uncertainties surrounding the NBN would inhibit broadband infrastructure investment. It appears to Market Clarity that this has come to pass: carriers and service providers seem to have spent much of 2008 “marking time” on their infrastructure plans.
The old joke tells that to make a rabbit stew, first catch your rabbit. In many ways, the Australian broadband debate looks like an attempt to make a stew without a rabbit. One of the oldest lessons in technology industries is this: if you don’t know your requirements, you can’t build your solution.
Australia has over a million VoIP users, but anybody wishing to assess the importance of the VoIP Services market, quantify its current value, and predict its future value needs to start by answering one question: Just how do you count “users”? Defining users is not a trivial task, but it remains a challenge that anybody wanting to scale and forecast a market has to deal with. If we come up with the wrong definition of “user”, our current measurements lose credibility, and likewise our forecasts.
Broadband has now overtaken dial-up as the dominant means for Australians to access the Internet. While in overall population terms Australia has only a moderate broadband penetration, more than half of Australia’s Internet users are now on broadband services. As of June 2006, Market Clarity identified 3.52 million broadband SIOs (services in operation) compared to just 2.81 million dial-up SIOs.
One of the great pleasures of my professional life is to serve on the steering committee of CeNTIE, a role that keeps me in contact with the very best in Australian advanced networking research. At a recent CeNTIE meeting, I had the good fortune to hear from Dr Sylvia Pfeiffer, currently on unpaid secondment to a venture capital firm looking to commercialise CSIRO’s Annodex technology. Here, we explain what Annodex is — and why it’s exciting.
The problems with VoIP security start with a fundamental difference between what you expect a telephone to do, and what you expect a computer to do. The chief risks in the old world of the PSTN were interception, which still remains a risk in the world of VoIP; and the hijacking of infrastructure to make unauthorised calls (such as using tone signalling to trick old carrier switches into providing calls for free, or using paths into PABXs to make your calls on someone else’s bill).
In 2003, there was almost no VoIP security debate. In 2006, the story is different. Plenty of people have something to sell, plenty of companies have already bought VoIP systems, and with a ready market for products and prognostications, there’s a steady stream of VoIP security stories.
You only have to look at Internet politics in the US to see how attached people have become to their Internet utilities: AOL’s proposal to offer premium-priced preferential treatment for some outbound e-mail generated a storm which hasn’t died down yet (such things already exist in Australia, and have done for at least a few years, but nobody seems to notice).