20 years of ‘Yes’ marked by copyright win

February 6, 2012

TV Now round one goes to Optus
A Federal court ruled last week that Optus’ TV Now app does not infringe on the copyright of the sporting codes when it records and replays their TV broadcasts. The news overshadowed the company’s 20th birthday celebrations, which also marked the beginning of competition in the Australian telecommunications market. Since commencing competition with Telstra in 1992, Optus now supports more than nine million mobile services, one million fixed and broadband customers and thousands of Australian businesses. Celebrations were trumped by the TV Now court ruling, which sparked concern from a number of sporting agencies, believing it could devalue their broadcast contracts. Clare Gill, General Manager Corporate and Government Affairs at Optus said: “We were confident that the Optus TV Now product was well within the intention and the spirit of the Copyright Act and this was confirmed by today’s decision. The time shifting capabilities of Optus TV Now are no different to many other personal video recording services already available to consumer such as TiVo, Play TV, T-Box and Foxtel IQ.”

NBN follies: Abbott’s vision—axe it in favour roads …
The opposition’s plans to axe the NBN and place savings into roads was declared by Tony Abbott at the National Press Club. Abbott declared the NBN as a $50 billion expense “that people don’t need and don’t want to pay more for.” Critics quickly pointed to the fact that the NBN would ultimately provide a return on investment, and should not be considered in the context of zero-sum funding politics. Malcolm Turnbull’s assertion that the NBN would lead to higher prices was also put to the sword by Delimiter, who pointed out that most of Australia’s major ISPs had released their first tranche of NBN pricing over the closing months of 2011, and in nearly all cases, the prices are directly comparable to current pricing available for ADSL and HFC cable networks operated by Telstra and Optus.

In the same week the Government announced at $4.9 million, three-year fund to provide NBN-based services for children with hearing or vision impairment in regional and remote communities. Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, said: “If there is no specialist close to where they live, a child with disability can access ‘real time’ support and advice through these new online services. This will make a real difference in the lives of children with disability and help reduce the stress and pressures on families trying to access specialist services that are only available in large towns and cities.”

Smartphone sales exceed those of PCs for first time, Apple smashes record
In 2011, manufacturers shipped 487.7 million smartphones and only 414.6 million computers — the latter figure including desktops, laptops and tablets. Figures published by research firm Canalys on Friday show that for the first time ever, shipments of smartphones have exceeded those of PCs, a category that includes tablet computers. The smartphone sales spike is partly down to the iPhone, which sold 37 million units in the final quarter of 2011—breaking the record for the largest number of smartphones shipped worldwide in one quarter by a single vendor. The previous holder of the record, Nokia, shipped 28.3 million devices in the final quarter of 2010. Canalys VP and principal analyst Chris Jones said: “In the space of a few years, smartphones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition. The greater availability of smartphones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for Internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices.”

Broadband and Beyond 2012
Communications Alliance has unveiled the speaker line-up for the 2012 Broadband and Beyond conference to b e held in Sydney on Wednesday 22 February. The conference will explore in depth the push toward seamless connectivity and converging content for all Australians. The cast of Australian and international industry leaders and innovators speaking at Broadband and Beyond 2012 includes:

  • Selina Lo – serial technology entrepreneur and President and CEO of Ruckus Wireless
  • Steven Wood – CEO, Tennis Australia
  • Mark Scott – Managing Director, ABC
  • Justin Milne – Chairman, Quickflix and pieNETWORKS
  • Michael Malone – CEO, iiNet
  • Hugh Bradlow – CTO, Telstra
  • Peter Bourke – CIO, Westfield Holdings
  • Pippa Leary – Director of Strategy and Market Insights, Fairfax Media
  • Adam Ferrier – Founding Partner, Naked Communications

For further information visit www.broadbandandbeyond.com

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Dr Terry Percival, Director Broadband and the Digital Economy, NICTA