Loins girdling at Tory St

It's interesting comparing the Telecommunications Amendment Bill as reported back to Parliament with what Telecom proposed in a letter to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee which has now been made public:

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Loins girdling at Tory St

It’s interesting comparing the Telecommunications Amendment Bill as reported back to Parliament with what Telecom proposed in a letter to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee which has now been made public:

Telecom asked for and got the threat of structural separation removed, as well as retail-minus pricing on services. The letter also carries demands of no equivalence of inputs for legacy UBS and UNS, and a competition test for Commission Commission must apply to LLU like it does now with regulated bitstream service.

Of the above, getting retail-minus pricing and not having the backstop of full separation in the bill are important wins for Telecom.

It remains to be seen what happens to the demand that existing “unbundled” services like broadband (UBS) and data tails (UNS) won’t have “equivalence of inputs” — that is, Xtra won’t get the same service from Telecom that wholesale providers do — but it looks like competition tests that would delay applications for regulated services are out. Apart from legacy products, it appears that Telecom wants to keep broadband data backhaul, its entire fibre-optic circuits and adjunct Next-Generation Network out of network division it proposes to set up.

With the bill going back to the house, Minister Cunliffe will have the final say on the above matters. The bill didn’t specify these, only that Telecom must supply a separation plan twenty days after the bill becomes law.

InternetNZ takes an optimistic view and says the bill shows that the Committee ignored Telecom’s bullying and cajoling, and adds that the telco’s proposals aren’t going to be sufficient. There’s probably reason to be cautiously optimistic, because Cunliffe has almost full support in the House for the new regulation. Even Maurice Williamson went on radio to praise the new regulation despite not getting his merit-based reviews of determinations inserted into the bill. This leaves only two ACT MPs to vote against the bill, on the basis of a woolly “property rights” argument that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Now, there’s a great deal of time before the new regulation starts to bite, and Telecom will not waste any opportunity to exploit its existing monopoly advantage.

The question is, should we let Telecom put the pedal to the metal and squeeze as much as it can out of the market before regulation, or should interim rules be put into place to prevent such manoeuvres?

- Three-way separation for Telecom: Select Committee

- InternetNZ: Telecom letter not the end of the story

- Telecom hastens to beat law change

- Telecom door-knocks as rivals suffer connection woes

Quad damage

I’ve tried to keep eyes open, ears to the ground and feet on the floor with Intel’s main competitor AMD, to find out what their response to the Core 2 Duo and Quad CPUs would be.

To recap, Intel, which had lost its way with the hot running and inefficient Netburst architecture made a staggering comeback with a new range of processors that turned the tables on AMD in every respect. AMD can’t point the finger at Intel and laugh anymore, because all of a sudden its processors look dated. So what would AMD do to meet the challenge? Well, I tried to get some inside running on this, but getting info out of AMD is just plain hopeless.

I see however that the lads at HardOCP have done better, and got hold of the AMD 4x4 set up to test. Unfortunately, AMD’s solution is very a much clumsy four-wheel drive compared to Intel’s more elegant and sportscar like technology. AMD used two separate 3GHz Athlon 64 CPUs on a new dual-socket platform (Quad FX).

Bolting on an extra, discrete processor didn’t help though: Quad FX takes quad damage against Intel’s four-core Kentsfield in most performance tests, and it loses out against the dual core Conroe in some benchmarks too. It’s worth noting that Intel’s processors run at lower frequencies (2.66 and 2.93GHz respectively). Worse, the Quad FX platform appears to suck almost twice as much power in total compared to the Intel solution.

Those kind of results just aren’t going to cut it with enthusiasts, I’m afraid. Next year, AMD’s true quad core “Barcelona” processors might make up for lost ground, but until then, Intel owns the performance market.

- HardOCP: AMD Athlon 64 FX-74 & Quad FX Platform Review

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