G’day Reddit.

Steve Dalby here (Proof), CRO of iiNet and no stranger to the ongoing content debate.

Many of you may know of me from my thoughts on content availability and some responses to comments made by Village Roadshow’s own co-CEO, Graham Burke about the same issue.

There’s been a lot of questions about iiNet’s stance on copyright and the availability of content. In light of recent statements from the other side of the fence and in the interest of keeping things open and direct, I’m opening the door to answer any questions about the content debate and anything else you might want to know.

This has been a very interesting experience, thank you all for your questions. I’m signing off for now but will check back later in case I missed anything. Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter for further comments and thoughts.

Comments: 217 • Responses: 55  • Date: 

yourspleenisshowing51 karma

Would you rather fight one telstra sized TPG or one hundred TPG sized telstras?

Steve_Dalby61 karma

I don't like either of those options. Perhaps have them both in a cage and we'll sell tickets to watch.

deejayqf35 karma

Hi Steve,

You have been the voice for so many Australians searching for equity in the quest for digital content.

There are 3 critical ingredients to providing a content repository that people will floak to - price, availability and flexibility.

Why is it do you think that in Australia we have a small offering of service providers that tend to offer only 1 or 2 of these things?

Foxtel is expensive and not very platform friendly, the quickflix catalogue is poor and fetchtv, whilst growing, just doesn't have a lot of premium desired content.

Do you expect to ever see services as high quality and well priced as Hulu and Netflix in Australia in the next 5 years?

Do you ever see the over priced monopoly that is Foxtel geniunely challenged?

Why does our government engage with and take seriously - people like Graham Burke and Neil Gane at the expense of consumers desperate to contribute meaningful dialogue?

Steve_Dalby39 karma

Why is it do you think that in Australia we have a small offering of service providers that tend to offer only 1 or 2 of these things?

  • The owners of the content control this. They decide where the content is allowed.

  • Australia is a small market and are low on US investors priority lists.

  • Fetch is growing and gaining traction, but it's still linear, consumers want to watch what they want when they want. Neither Foxtel nor Fetch currently address that style of demand.

  • Foxtel is on borrowed time.

  • Have a chat to George Brandis and ask him why he doesn't consult more widely. He'll ignore you, but you should still ask.

Kimberlyrenee8 karma

Despite the fact that Australia tops the illegal download list for a great number of television shows we are still a low priority for these companies? This seems just plain stupid on their part. Would they not make a sizeable profit by enabling us to just use the same model as something like Netflix? There really wouldn't be much they need to change would there?

forumrabbit2 karma

Netflix requires a lot of companies to come together to sell licenses for netflix; licenses already bought for by the free stations or by foxtel. Netflix is coming to Australia soon officially but I doubt it'll have anywhere near the catalogue as US netflix has.

Plus you also have to consider that Netflix in its current capacity only has something like 20k subscribers in Australia (granted you have to use a VPN), in a country where data caps are still a very prevalent thing, and in the US it has ~30 million with 44million internationally. We're just a drop in the water being 50 times below the netflix per capita of the US.

Steve_Dalby3 karma

Australia tops the illegal download list

We have to call BS on that. When you look at the data provided - we don't even rank in the top ten. These guys are not shy about making stuff up.
They must laugh themselves silly when consumers, the media and politicians repeat that lie.

MarkMonitor (RH's detective agency) reports on it.

Check out - http://www.rapidtvnews.com/2014062434218/markmonitor-reveals-p2p-downloads-ranking.html

rorosaur23 karma

Can you please explain what is happening with the NBN currently, the whole changeover has me lost as to whether we're still following FTTH or FTTN, whether it's still happening at all and whether or not i'll actually be getting it.

What are your thoughts on the current NBN system?

Steve_Dalby53 karma

NBN policy is in flux (no that's not a spelling mistake) Neither the LNP or the Labor party seem to know why the NBN is important. So the only schoolyard conversation is along the lines of "you stink" "no you stink more", rather than focusing on

  • Job creation,

  • Export opportunities

  • Regional development

  • Industry development

  • Social dividends (education, health, etc)

Have you seen those conversations from any of our political leaders, in the context of NBN ? No, Me neither.

I think the general community understands the value of the NBN - Tony Windsor certainly did. It would be really excellent if Cabinet saw it as an enabler for economic growth, rather than a cost that had to be cut.

Annies_Boobs_12 karma

I think you hit the nail on the head. The public discussion on the NBN ishorrible, and for some reason the discussion seems to be lead by technology illiterate people. The only proper discussion seem to be on news sites with a proper tech writer, or tech sites, which never make it to the public.

If the politicians and public knew of all the articles from Josh Taylor or Sortius then I think the NBN would be in a good place.

On some level I find it hard to understand the lack of proper coverage. Some of the concepts aren't hard to grasp, and there has been enough general content to concentrate on. The Coalition have said some very plainly incorrect stuff, which the public should eat up.

Adzmodean8 karma

Hi Steve,

Rupert Murdoch, as the CEO of a massive media company, openly jumped into the Australian political debate through a massive Anti-Labor campaign.

You speak about leadership, but did anyone at iiNet consider running any advertisements that educated people about the potential benefits of a proper NBN? It didn't need to be pro-Lab, or Anti-Lib, just Pro-NBN.

iiNet would have a lot to gain through the improvement of internet technology in this country, especially with Fetch running out of steam, and the Murdoch stranglehold of the traditional media.

It seems that iinet was content to let the NBN die without firing a shot.

Steve_Dalby24 karma

It seems that iinet was content to let the NBN die without firing a shot.

It seems our shots were too subtle. We fired them, we just didn't run a $20m political advertising campaign.

thetick215 karma

Hi Steve,

What do you see as the main impediments, regulatory or otherwise, to the opening of the Australia market to legal content distribution?

Vested interests have always had a place in markets like this and yet they do not appear to want to learn from the demise of Blockbuster. What do you think are the main reasons for this, aside from pure pig-headed stupidity?

Steve_Dalby29 karma

The demise of Blockbuster is indicative of failure to adapt to change.
These guys are not isolated, think Australia Post; free to air TV; bricks and mortar Retail; airlines; film photography; bookstores.
Adapt or die, dudes, it's the internet.

forumrabbit1 karma

Australia post delivers less mail than what it used to, but much more parcels (side note: their pay is abysmal. Less than $1 per parcel delivered). Not really much you can do when your business is known to every person on the planet but you can't make them send more mail. The only reason you wouldn't use them is if you can send to your customers through startrack.

As a result they're merging a lot of routes for posties to be enormous and taking ages, but they're also looking at cutting down the days of delivery and they're taking on almost no new staff to handle routes being dropped (instead merging them into other routes); my dad's been a postie for over 40 years at this point (retiring next year thankfully, though not quite there yet).

Not really much they can do besides what they're doing, and most of the 'job-cut' scare are a few hundred administrative jobs out of thousands upon thousands.

Steve_Dalby5 karma

I was a postie as a school holiday job.

Christmas was awesome, plenty of young ladies waiting at the letterbox for the postie to turn up with Christmas cards.

I loved it.

wellshitbro15 karma

Hi Steve,

There has been all sorts of (what appears to be) unsubstantiated chatter about TPG's intentions to purchase iiNet. Some of the indicators have been David Teo's increased holdings in iiNet shares.

In a world where TPG was successful in obtaining ownership of iiNet, What do YOU imagine would be the industry wide repercussions of such an acquisition?

Otherwise, thank you for what you do for Telecommunications in Australia on a daily basis. You have an attitude and an openness that is refreshing and inspiring in the clustercuss that is Telecomms in Australia.

Steve_Dalby22 karma

TPG - Struth, that was two years ago and came to nothing. He hasn't increased his shareholding at all. He'd be pretty happy with his investment, though - it's probably worth twice as much now.

If the two companies got together, they'd have to sort out the cultural clash. I think it's hypothetical and I don't give it much thought.

superjaywars8 karma

I love you. Just saying. Keep doing what you do.

Steve_Dalby14 karma


I think.

wellshitbro7 karma

Thanks for your response Steve - It's a dream of mine to buy you a beer and pick your brain one day. Hopefully I'll catch you at the next open day!

Steve_Dalby13 karma

Free beer !! Open Day 2015 ?

Dafpants12 karma

Hi Steve, Are you certain you're not Australia's #1 ISP? Thanks for many years of service. :)

Steve_Dalby18 karma

We don't get to rate ourselves - our customers will make that call.

Thank you for your business, we love what we do. I'd like to say that passion is our middle name, but the company registration certificate only says 'iiNet Limited'. :-)

alfredo_linguini12 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Steve.

My question is, what's preventing other ISP's from upgrading the highly mediocre internet infrastructure? My guesses are Telstra's ownership of the current infrastructure and low return on investments (large landmass, low population).

Steve_Dalby12 karma

The reason that the private sector didn't upgrade the infrastructure was purely economic. That's one of the reasons why the government stepped in. Most of the customer base/population is in the metro, so the population density was probably less of a reason.

somintyfresh11 karma

As a country that would love to have media streaming (Netflix, Hulu etc.) readily available, do you )as a company), aim to release 'unlimited' or data limit free deals as the NBN reach increases, so that these sources could be more efficiently used in Australia ?

Steve_Dalby20 karma

iiNet already offer a 1TB plan and less than 5% of our customers have signed up for it. If the demand increases and costs keep falling, we'll keep reviewing our plans and consider offering more quota. We also have an unlimited plan via our JIVA brand. Very few subscribed to that either.

somintyfresh4 karma

I agree a 1TB plan could be more than enough for an end user, if it was offered with a more flexible peak/no peak time frame? We currently have a 250GB/250GB on/off plan, and while each month we tentatively use towards that full amount in the on peak times, because of a short and unusable time that the off peak is set, much of that half of our data limit go unused. If that full 500GB was offered as a full month quota with no time restrictions, I could see why offering an unlimited plan may be of little use.

Steve_Dalby4 karma

... because of a short and unusable time that the off peak is set

This isn't an arbitrary time slot. The 'Peak' timing simply reflects the actual traffic. When the peak usage patterns change, we'll change the label.

dmukya10 karma

What are your thoughts on the Trans Pacific Partnership?

What are your thoughts on Australia buying F-35s instead of serving constituents with better network connectivity?

Steve_Dalby13 karma

TPP - As a general principle, negotiating secret trade agreements that impact on industry, and the general public is not a good look. I don't like it or support it. It's a crappy way to act in the best interests of your country. If these faceless negotiators were acting in our interests, we wouldn't end up with more surveillance, less rights and reduced control over our economic activity ... Would we ?

On the question of F-35s, I haven't seen a cost-benefit analysis. Let's just say that F-35s are a response to imagined conflict. A better broadband network is a response to an imagined improved lifestyle and economic growth.

LTSnatch10 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Steve, and thanks to iiNet for sticking up for consumers while content providers ignore us.

What are your thoughts on the morals of using a VPN to access sites like Netflix? If Netflix (or Hulu, or whoever) don't have a licence to broadcast the content in Australia is it really any better than pirating, even though the user might be paying for it?

What was the feeling at iiNet like the day that the iiTrial was finally won for good? What's your favourite memory of that day?

Steve_Dalby19 karma

the morals of using a VPN

If geo blocking were outlawed this question may be redundant. The IT Pricing enquiry last year pointed out that Australians were being ripped off and treated as mugs. Two wrongs don't make a right, but using a VPN to buy stuff is not the same level of infringement as P2P sharing for nix.

feeling at iiNet like the day that the iiTrial was finally won

The case may have been won, but the fight continues. The feeling was of immense relief. iiNet was way out on a limb there, up against 34 Hollywood studios that told us they had an unlimited budget to take us down. FTW !

My favourite memory of the day was losing count on the shooters that folks were lining up to present, in between telephone interviews with electronic media. I loved it.

PhysicsPhile9 karma

Hi Steve!,

How fast is your home internet connection?

Steve_Dalby17 karma

I'm really lucky I get 18.3Mbps down and about 1.2Mbps up. My son doesn't think its fast enough though.

ajreloaded9 karma

What do you think would be the top 3 modifications to IP/Copyright Law in this country to reduce Piracy?

Steve_Dalby36 karma

Outlaw geo-blocking. Simultaneous release dates. Equitable pricing across jurisdictions.

deejayqf16 karma

When do you plan to run for office and where do I sign?

Steve_Dalby18 karma

I was approached, many years ago. I felt flattered - quickly realised that's all that attracted me and declined the next day.

Sorry to disappoint, I couldn't think of anything worse. Party politics is destructive, demoralising and corrosive.

jenssenfucker0 karma

Outlaw geo-blocking.

The problem with doing that is it disuedes content producers.

Content distributors (e.g: Netflix) just want the widest possible market for the lowest possible content cost. They do the minimum required to comply with their licensing agreements.

A better way would be to make "working around geoblocking" completely legal for non-commercial end-users in Australia.

Simultaneous release dates.

Yes, please!

Equitable pricing across jurisdictions.

I'll take two!

Steve_Dalby8 karma

Outlaw geo-blocking. The problem with doing that is it disuedes content producers.

How so? It increases the market reach. YouTube would not be as successful as it is, if every post was locked to its geo-zone.

VJmes9 karma

Have you been in contact with the Attorney General's Deptarment (or have they reached out to iiNet) to discuss their planned 'graduated response' (three-strikes) or web-filter for piracy websites, and what if any details can you share surrounding those discussions?

Steve_Dalby15 karma

Yes we certainly have. We spent months (years) discussing this issue with the AG's department. To put it into context, they refer to it as The iiNet Problem.

They seem disinterested in our point of view, so further discussion may be held on the basis that they will change our minds.

See this Delimiter article. http://delimiter.com.au/2012/03/20/in-secret-piracy-talks-iinet-risks-losing-its-integrity/

There was an extended discussion in the commentary following the article.

VJmes2 karma

Have you been privy to the sorts of discussions other ISPs (Telstra and Optus) have had with the AG's department surrounding this matter or the level of co-operation that other ISPs have offered to the government around this policy?

Steve_Dalby7 karma

Only inasmuch as other ISPs were at the same meetings for about two years. No doubt they had private discussions, of which I have no visibility.

GenocidalPiglet8 karma

Piracy is pretty huge right now, especially in Australia, do you think that piracy is now ingrained in our culture? How do we eradicate piracy as a means of content consumption, and how does iiNet plan to tackle this? Do you plan to tackle it at all?

Steve_Dalby18 karma

The reports about the volume of piracy are BS. Sure we love our content that is in our DNA.

Making content available in a timely, affordable away will go a long way to tapping into the Australian willingness to pay for legitimate content. Let's face it, if 500,000 Aussies were prepared to pay 447% of the price previously charged by iTunes (for GoT, according to Foxtel) then they will pay.

jenssenfucker8 karma

Has iiNet undertaken a feasibility analysis of the various forms of blocking & monitoring and regimes mooted by ALP and LNP governments? If so, what position does iiNet take on each form? Or does iiNet simply take the ideological position that it should not be the responsibility of ISP's to perform this kind of study?

Steve_Dalby12 karma

Feasibility study ?

Yes. They are all futile. That's the point we keep coming back to. Ignoring the civil rights component (which I don't) the proponents of these wacky schemes are all convinced that they will deliver on claims of cleaning up, stopping, preventing, reducing, blah blah, whatever it is they are targeting. That's where we argue back. We don't want to be saddled with additional obligations and costs for things that won't work.

The flip side to your question could be - "Have the proponents undertaken feasibility studies ... " I reckon the answer is "No, they haven't".

plgs7 karma

Hi Steve - love your work. How can we practically leverage Australians' love of all things internet to apply political pressure against overzealous regulatory changes. Would iiNet consider asking its customers to contact their MPs, for example?

Steve_Dalby8 karma

Contacting MPs ?

Yes. We have already suggested this (see towards the end of this blog - https://blog.iinet.net.au/issue-piracy-australia/ )

Shabbering7 karma

Hi Steve,

First off, thanks for keeping the ABC's iView service uncapped. Its a brilliant service that I use daily, but with that in mind;

Are there any plans to make Youtube unmetered content? It'd be an amazing step forward in service. Additionally, do you know of any plans to bring the NBN into Redfern? ;) Worth a go!

Steve_Dalby11 karma

YouTube - no.

In order to unmeter it, it needs to be on - or close to - our own infrastructure where the costs to ship it around become negligible.

if the YouTube or other content is offshore it is very expensive and drives our costs up.

NBN in Redfern - your guess is as good as ours. NBN Co are not providing much information on their rollout. We certainly don't get any 'inside' information.

Lionguy7125 karma

Hi Steve,

If Netflix really does somehow make it to Australian shores, will iiNet consider partnering with them to provide either quota free viewing or a package that let's us count Netflix towards a different quota bucket? You guys are the only ones that aren't tied at the hip to someone (Telstra/foxtel Singtel-Optus/fetch) and the benefit would be that we get to watch content on a wider range of devices or who don't want or need additional hardware on their network.

I know people who are shackled to Telstra for Foxtel who would jump ship at the first sign of a Netflix and DSL bundle - and if I wasn't with Internode already it'd become a no brainer for me.

Also, thanks for sticking up for the users who just want a fair price and equal access to content. I don't know what they've been smoking over in the content industry, but they sure know how to trip balls.

Steve_Dalby10 karma

will iiNet consider partnering

Yes, we do that now. We'd be happy to have that conversation. Of course the size of the Aussie market militates against their interest. But we'd do it.

bryan_n5 karma

Would iiNet ever voluntarily participate in any form of content blocking/filtering programe?

Steve_Dalby14 karma



plgs5 karma

Also, exactly how sweet was it when iiNet won in the High Court? Take us through the 60 seconds after you heard the decision.

Steve_Dalby10 karma

Squeak..POP ! ! Bubbles !! Whoo hoo !! Shit ! High fives ! We won !

Text. Whirlpool. email. Call. Tweet. Facebook.

We were all pretty emotional, I can tell you. We had 'Plan A - win' and 'Plan B - lose' We were prepared for bad news, but we tore those Plan B press releases up and started handling the media influx.

RacksDiciprine5 karma

Hey Steve. I'm drunk and have been playing softball all night but have some burning questions. At what point in time ( what year) do you anticipate fiber optics to be standard for ISPs in all developed countries.? And what is the next step beyond Fiber Optics? Does it include physical cable being laid from coast to coast? Or some sort of advanced "world wide WiFi" using satellites or something with a lot of syllables?

Steve_Dalby17 karma

WiFi is NOT the answer. Anyway, it depends on fixed line infrastructure, so even if we provided universal, ubiquitous, WiFi it would still need an awesome fibre network to carry the traffic.

Fibre has been rolled out since the 80s (at least) the question is - when will it get to each of our homes ?

Dunno, and with disinterested leadership in government it looks like it's going to be a while.

On the softball - Did you have a win ? Is that why you're drunk ? :-)

RacksDiciprine5 karma

Thanks Steve. I will sleep a lot easier tonight. And yeah we won our game . then we won the party.. Cheers!

Steve_Dalby8 karma

Awessssommmme !

jenssenfucker2 karma

Thanks Steve for being clear on this!

I've lost count of the times I've had to invoke the laws of physics (and information) to explain why wireless is not now and will never be the way forward.

Steve_Dalby3 karma

Keep at it ! We'll win, ultimately.

cunttard5 karma

As a former sr. network engineer for a small but profitable service provider in the US, I often found handling MPAA/DMCA abuse frustrating and difficult. We had it semi automated to the point that we would supply WHOIS results per-IP address which would provide an anonymous identity to the end customer. This way we wouldn't have to forward the abuse email to the customer (or read them). Would you be fine if customers directly received the abuse emails but as an ISP you would protect the identity of those customers?

Regarding the strikes system that media companies wish to get implemented by Australia ISPs. Doesn't the ISP industry also benefit by reduced/restricted usage (i.e. more profitable)? I've read that some strike systems effectively degrade the connection and render them unusable (sort of like throttling a connection after exceeding quota).

What are your thoughts on a mandatory product disclosure statement for Internet access which would include service delivery guarantees. There are some ISPs which I will leave unnamed that throttle/shape connectivity/specific traffic types without actually stating they are doing so and vehemently deny that it is happening. From what I can ascertain, this is appears legal. Also the blame is readily shifted to the local supplier for the ISP in the region.

What costs are involved for implementing the policy outlined by media companies? Would it be on equal terms if you offer the media companies to cancel a customer contract and extrapolate the possible return on the customer over the span of 10 years? For example, lets say average tenure of a customer is 5 years. Then for a media company to require an ISP to disconnect the user, the media company should pay in advance for 5 years. Using that money, you could help churn the customer over to another ISP? What I'm saying is, why not make it prohibitively expensive for media companies to go after customers?

Steve_Dalby3 karma

On your last para question on costs. We are in the business of growing our business by connecting customers, not disconnecting them. We just don't want to go there, so manufacturing a distorted business case where we make money out of disconnecting people, doesn't make it to the table.

WiseHacker4 karma

Last year, iiNet made mention of NBN Co being inflexible and there were issues between iiNet and NBN Co.

What were these issues that existed between iiNet and NBN Co?

On a similar note, there have been a few (albeit, vague) stories on Telstra creating issues for iiNet in the delivery of its services to consumers.

If true, what issues if any has iiNet had (past and present) with Telstra?

Steve_Dalby8 karma

What were these issues that existed between iiNet and NBN Co?

I'm not going into detail, but suffice to say, NBN Co generally set up that only their opinion counts. Everyone else is wrong. We'd like to be treated like a customer, not the enemy. That might help reduce the combat.

If true, what issues if any has iiNet had (past and present) with Telstra?

We have been around for almost 21 years. In all that time Telstra has been our biggest supplier and our biggest competitor. That's a conflict of interest which pervades most of the relationship, so there have been many issues and I'm happy to say we've won most, if not all, of them. Remembering that delaying your competition is probably considered a victory, they'll probably think they won too.

bigfootaus3 karma

What's the best and/or most enjoyable aspect of your job?

What's the most surprising/shocking thing you've learned or encountered since the whole content debate began?

Steve_Dalby9 karma

Most enjoyable ? - The business is very action oriented. We talk about stuff one day and are reviewing progress in a week.

Secondly, we are a very egalitarian and sociable bunch. There's always some reason to have cake or a drink or a pizza. I love it, although I'm not a party animal and I fail to make it to many of the functions. In the office, that egalitarianism means that everyone chats to everyone, we all feel like we are on the same page and the 'Bosses' are just other guys/gals that work here. The hierarchy is not real deep.

Shocking ? That people can apparently persuade policy makers to make legislative change purely on the basis of claims. No evidence, no fact, just hysterical claims.

Aliantha2 karma

Posting this again because the ama bot is a moron.

When I first signed up with iinet, you guys never counted uploads as part of the quota. When you changed to a lump quota instead of peak/offpeak you started counting uploads. No charge for uploads was a huge selling point for iinet, so I am wondering why you started to count uploads as part of the quota?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

I am wondering why you started to count uploads as part of the quota?

It was simply a reflection of the impact of web 2.0. Prior to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etcetera, upload traffic was only a fraction of the traffic being carried. When the traffic became more evenly split between upload/download, we could no longer ignore the underlying cost shift.

There had to be a point where pricing reflected utility. We softened the blow by increasing quotas at the same time. Something we were able to do as a result of negotiated reductions in cost, at that a time.

Balketh2 karma

Hey Steve, Big fan of your work, both defending net neutrality and copyright, as well as running a company that, by today's standards, offers such amazing service.

This is a bit of an off kilter question to the excellent topics of net neutrality, service and piracy, but do you have any advice for someone applying to your company for their first full time job? I'm a bit down on experience, given it's my first full time job, so that's a bit of a hindrance.

I'm an Adelaide local, and I've applied three times for entry level customer service positions now, and I keep getting rebuked. I feel I've got excellent interpersonal skills, totally got the chops for the job more, and daylight to burn no less. I'm dying to get my foot in the door with a company as great as iiNet, especially when I want to put down roots here in Adelaide for a few years at least.

Any thoughts at all would be appreciated!

Steve_Dalby1 karma

In the CS roles, we are looking for folks with CS aptitude. If you have any hospitality experience, that would be more useful than technical skills.

Customer service usually flows from aptitude and is not readily taught. Technical skills can be learnt.

Taking that as a strong hint, if you're still keen, maybe approach the process promoting your Customer service credentials.

Heaviest_of_Hands2 karma

Did you pay to watch Game of Thrones?

Steve_Dalby3 karma

Yep. But ... I've asked my son if I can borrow his books so I'll never have to pay for it again.

Tastetheradness2 karma


What do you see for the future of the NBN?

Is it destined to be the political football which the debate has turned it into or do you see a national network of mixed tech held together by paper clips and rubber bands rather than the almost utopian network it's designers has in mind?

Steve_Dalby8 karma

It is a political football. And that's it, really.

I don't think Cabinet gives a fig about NBN's value to the Nation. I've seen little to inspire us on that front.

Remember 'The age of entitlement' is over.

That probably means we should expect to get less and we should also expect our standards of living to decline.

posty2 karma

Hi Steve,

Given the "Content Industry" playbook doesn't seem to have changed that much, could you explain to us what it was like, and how some of the discussions went back in the 2012 copyright talks that you said were 'pointless' and like "talking to a brick wall".

how did the discussions go? I reckon we've had FOI requests on it before and it was all denied of course. I'm not asking you to reveal commercially sensitive info, just what did they WANT? what were the attitudes like? what were some of the topics of conversations that stuck out in your mind or would have been entertaining to an interested third party (like us :) )?

Steve_Dalby12 karma

Most of the time I spent at the white board drawing diagrams of how the internet works, how ISPs are set up and why certain suggestions would not lead to satisfactory results.

It took (I reckon) three meetings to get everyone in the room to understand that the issue was not about downloading it was about uploading (sharing).

They had their filters up and given Graham Burke's most recent comments, few of the explanations appear to have stuck. He's still banging on about IP addresses being used for billing, about ISPs profiting from piracy and then claiming they are 'dealing with a straight bat' [sic].

how did the discussions go?

Much like the recent media conversations. He says something; I say he's wrong and explain why; he reacts badly.

I laugh out loud and go and do something useful.

jenssenfucker2 karma

Has iiNet untaken a feasibility analysis of the various forms of data-retention regime (w.r.t TIA) mooted by ALP and LNP governments? If so, what position does iiNet take on each form? If so, what sort of premium does iiNet project on broadband service pricing?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

Yes, we did some quick and dirty costing.

There are no specs, so it's impossible to accurately forecast costs. Our modelling suggests that $5/mth per service is a start (based on 2013 traffic).

You can probably extrapolate that in line with the increasing supply of apps, services and sophistication of users and subsequent data usage.

Probably double in five years ?

Krispy892 karma

Hi Steve,

In your opinion, does the mantra "I've done nothing wrong, so I've got nothing to hide." hold up anymore in today's society?

Especially with the Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione's comments yesterday.

Also, what does iInet look for when hiring people? I've worked previously at an independent ISP out at Homebush, so I have a little bit of experience under my belt, and I feel that iInet would be brilliant to advance my skillset.

Steve_Dalby11 karma

That's like saying everyone should walk around naked, because they have nothing to hide. There are some things I like to keep private. It may not matter to anyone but me, but isn't that what rights are all about ? Just because something is private, doesn't mean it's evil, salacious or deserving of prosecution. The commissioner was talking like a warrior, and that's fair enough. That's his role, but he was suggesting that our privacy was unimportant and should be completely stripped from us. I don't agree with that.

Mr_Mac1 karma

Hi Steve,

Foxtel are due to launch as their own ISP at some point during 2014. Assumably this would be closely tied in with their current services and solutions. Do you feel that there is a risk to further restriction of content through Foxtel integrating both ownership of content and distribution of content?

Steve_Dalby8 karma

Let's hope they use the same approach to pricing as they have done with subscription TV. Foxtel has the lowest penetration of any pay TV market in the world and the highest process.

Of course, Telstra is cannibalising their own market, so we'll keep an eye on it and see where it goes.

The market has role to play with restricted access to content. If a company wants to shell out $squillions to get exclusivity, then there's not much anyone can do. Ultimately, the market will sort it out.

moustachaaa1 karma

If the NBN fails to achieve its goals(which it currently looks like it will do), would iinet start building their own infrastructure, and possibly become a fibre wholesaler akin to Telstra?

Steve_Dalby4 karma

Excellent question, we'll never say never, but it is low on our priority list today. We are not a construction company, that is a very different kind of business.

AroGantz1 karma

If the government does enforce a compulsory content blocking/filtering system what effect will that have on normal internet traffic? If a user does not pirate (we do exist) will their net be slowed by the filtering?

Steve_Dalby5 karma

net be slowed by the filtering?

Probably not, but setting up and operating such a dynamic filter incurs costs which will be passed thru to all customers equally. That means you'll pay, even if you never visited those websites.

the_internext1 karma

Hey Steve, Love the iinet nbn so far, I'm one of your 5% on the top speed|data limit. Any chance for higher data caps or getting rid of the on/off peak shenanigans?

Steve_Dalby1 karma

How much are you prepared to pay ?

see my reply above.

Dhalphir1 karma


How does iiNet deal with the fact that the bandwidth requirements for NBN connections are much higher than the bandwidth requirements for ADSL connections, yet the price is not significantly higher?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

The underlying cost structure is quite different, though.

What you see are comparative retail prices. We have deliberately set retail NBN pricing to relate to DSL prices. That may not be sustainable if the backhaul/CVC consumption based pricing continues. Customer use more data on higher bandwidth services. We'd prefer to be using a 'dark-fibre' (unmetered) solution rather than the managed service, consumption model approach of NBN Co's CVCs.

elroy_jetson1 karma

Steve, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on "Fibre to the Basement". Working in construction, I saw retrofitting FTTH to MUD's as a key cost and execution risk of the original plan. That said, I don't know much about the FTTB alternative - is it a worthy form of broadband?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

It's VDSL. In ten years time it'll be considered in much the same way as we think of Telstra's 'Superfast' 256kbps ADSL of 2004.

Meh !

herschel_341 karma

Is Dalby named after your family? Have you ever been to Dalby, QLD?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

I honestly don't know what the link is to the Qld town. Probably a connection of some sort. i have never visited.

My family name is Danish, means something like 'Village in the dell' (valley).

There are lots of Dalbys in Yorkshire, which is probably a reflection on that part of England being part of the Kingdom of the Danes, following the Viking settlements. (Remember King Cnut trying to hold back the sea?)


I was born in Yorkshire.

Fenixius1 karma

Hi Steve,

A few weeks ago, Renai of Delimiter announced his withdrawal from journalism. Where do you suggest I look for current news and insightful editorial regarding Australia's telecommunications and copyright fields?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

i follow @joshgnosis on Twitter, @gizmodoau has also been following this stuff.

For straight Telco, http://www.commsday.com is generally considered required reading in the industry.

thorsm1 karma

Hi Steve, Do you think the Dockers will win the premiership this year?

Steve_Dalby2 karma

Fingers crossed !! Let's hope we get our injury list sorted and everyone stays healthy.

Freo ! Freo !!

_Rowdy1 karma

You should pull marketing aside and tell them to pull out of supporting the hawks and focus on WA teams :P

Steve_Dalby5 karma

I agree with the passion, but the Hawks and Sydney sixers sponsorship deals have been great business decisions for us. Our brand awareness has benefited greatly.

tarcM-4 karma

FTTN + affordable local online content delivery = everybody wins (even Foxtel can get in on the action if they adapt) .

How do we make this a reality?

Fasr-too-late-edit - I meant FTTP, but completely understand the downvotes.

Steve_Dalby2 karma

Move to Cornwall.