The theme of Hong Kong 2000 – What Follows the Framework Agreement? was really focused upon the difficulties in balancing the interests of consumers who are looking for greater choice over higher bandwidths at lower prices, and local service providers (the three new local FTNS operators, the callback operators and the ISPs) who have up to date made their money from callback services or international Internet traffic rather than the local loop. On the one hand, opening the international market to comprehensive competition radically transforms consumer choice.
On the other hand, this move vitally threatens the ability of the new FTNS operators to finance a long-haul local loop build-out. This in turn raises questions over the viability of the particular model of open competition that has emerged in Hong Kong. This should not come as a surprise. Oftel in the UK was forced to abandon the duopoly model of competition pioneered in the 1980s. Austel was forced to radically alter its approach, and is now almost disbanded. In the USA, the FCC is struggling to reintroduce AT&T and other long-distance carriers into local loop competition a decade after breaking up AT&T.
Hong Kong’s model of competition is likely to undergo similar revisions. The key issues for local operators seem to revolve around three questions: (a) international connection or access fees, (b) who has the opportunity to provide the facilities as well as the services, and (c) how effective will regulatory enforcement of interconnection and other
forms of local loop access be?
Keynote Speaker: Norman Yuen (Deputy CEO, Hongkong Telecom) and
Anthony Wong (Director-General, OFTA)
- Leslie Harris (NT&T)
- Charles Mok (Internet Service Providers Association)
- Simon Chan (Hong Kong Telecom Users Group)
- Alistair Grieve (Deputy CEO, Hongkong Telecom)
- Steve Liddell (President Asia-Pacific, Worldcom)
- Paul Cheng (GM, City Telecom)