Just arrived Boston to participate in the VoIP Bloggers Roundtable at VON. This is my 3rd time in Boston and I really like Boston; No, really … of all the places I being to, Boston is one of the few cities I dont mind to settle down.
Back to VON, the panel on Tuesday evening includes Andy Ambramson, Mark Evans, Tom Evslin, Martin Geddes, Stuart Henshall, Om Malik, Jeff Pulver, Aswath Rao. I thought we missing the European bloggers like James Enck but I am sure the audience will fill in the gap.
So what do I want to talk about on the panel?
China Telecom blocking Skype
This is particularly important to those with a “China-play” ie, almost everyone. We don’t know how they will be doing the blocking but that’s not important. Remember what I said about the next ten years? That we will be “additional billion ordinary Internet users who consider Internet just as a tool, and the uses of it is far more important then the technology driving it”. We already seeing it in Japan, where broadband pentration is higher than PC pentration, ie, people subscribing to broadband for just the VoIP.
What’s this means is despite the geeks calling for “end-to-end”, “net freedom”, or whatever, the users don’t really care. And they will continue to buy whatever the operators offer them, even from China Telecom who banned Skype.
What about regulators? Well, effective regulators requires 3 criterias (a) strong regulator with broad legistrative foundation (b) sound market or consumer interest principles (c) in a highly regulated market. Without (a), any decisions made by the regulator can be overturned by the higher power-to-be. Without (b), any decisions are likely to be a step backwards. Without (c), regulators have no basis to intervent.
In other words, don’t hold your breath for MII to intervent in China Telecom vs Skype. Yes, I am aware of Tom.com (aka Li family) influence in China but that’s from very top-down, if they ever make it happen.
China already have over 100M (see cnnic july report) internet users which is ~10% of the Internet population today. And 100M is less than
0.1% 10% of the China population. So when China catch up with the rest (60-80% pentration), wanna guess who will matters more in future?
Btw, the story don’t just stop in China - I expect to see similar stories from other countries with monopoly carriers.
ps: Hmm, maybe there is a business in selling carrier-grade Skype blocking tools (via Kevin Werbach) ^_^;;;
1 thanks to Antoin who corrected the math; my excuse is that 22hrs flight do that to people sometimes.