Technological Disruption: What role for government?

Photo by Paul Townsend (CC BY-ND 2.0)

I picked this draft post up from February this year and decided just to get it out there... My article in The Conversation was used in a Parliamentary Brief on the at the time of broadcasting legislation amendments in 2015-16. This topic is worth revisiting.

The demise of Presto has been attributed to too many service providers in Australia's small market. But competition in the Australian television industry has been absent for too long and it is the normal functioning of competition in the market.

While some suggest that free trade is not living up to its expectations, Australians should not be too eager to criticise local attempts to offer alternatives to Netflix. The origins of broadcasting in Australia were plagued by government attempts to avoid competition, and much like the taxi industry, consumer prices for pay-TV services such as Foxtel were a function of the regulatory environment.

In his book The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer, Paul Barry tells the story of Steve Cosser's attempt to deliver pay-TV services using microwave, known as Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems (MMDS) in Australia. Why things should be any different today one might wonder.