Making it up as they go along?

Making it up as they go along?

Summary: At the start of the year it looked like we were heading towards a fibre-to-the-node broadband network with very little talk about a separated Telstra. How the world has changed!


At the start of the year it looked like we were heading towards a fibre-to-the-node broadband network with very little talk about a separated Telstra. How the world has changed!

The year ends with a lot of questions. What prompted the sudden announcement of fibre to the premises? Do we need to spend all this money if Telstra is split up?

The biggest question is, has the government been making it all up as it goes along? How cohesive is its strategy given the moving goalposts?

This week on Twisted Wire we go through the year's events, including soundbites from previous editions of the program, and with extra commentary from analyst Kevin Morgan and Internode head Simon Hackett.

Next time: 7 January — industry predictions for 2010.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Telcos, Telstra


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • ... simple, but un-palatable solution for NBN...

    .. Great, article!!

    But I keep hearing solutions that are centred around manipulating Telstra to do what Australian people.. or Mr Conroy want. Structurally seperate Telstra; functionally separate; legislate; leverage the upcoming 4G spectrum against Telstra to make them do what we want.. Has everyone forgotten that we sold Telstra.. that they are no longer a public servant company.. but a private company?? I wonder if it would be okay to threaten to withold access to 4G spectrum to (Singaporian owned) Optus? Would it be acceptable conduct against a BHP or a big Chinese mining company? Anyhow, moving on...

    Simple solution for NBN... buy back 50.0001 % of Telstra ..

    (.. ie. access to ducts, network, eventual control of board?? ... but perhaps an unpalatable retraction of successive Labour & Liberal privatisation & competition policy-philosphies, which are now admitted to have abysmally failed.. and to have created the highly competitive Telstra beast, that is now trained to defend itself against competitors & gov't & regulators.. as the gov't required of it ....stir stir ;-)
  • Controlling monopolies is vital

    Andy, you may be just stirring as you say, but as you probably know there is a bit more to it.

    Telstra has always had a monopoly mindset from when it was a govt department. In recent years it became very aggressive in shutting down competition, partly through legal and regulatory gaming with its huge legal dept.

    So it is not "manipulating" Telstra to get it to do what 22 million people need, it's just good monopoly busting to ensure that users have choice and get a fair go. Any monopoly that tries to use its power to screw the public should get exactly the same treatment.

    Your point that Telstra is a highly competitive beast is right, so it seems to be drawing a long bow to say that they will be unduly or improperly disadvantaged by having to operate in a competitive way instead of as a virtual monopoly.
  • @simple but un-palatable

    Andy, you speak like Sydney (a wounded and bitter shareholder) but with a bit more finesse and less bravado.

    You do know that Telstra was vested the PSTN in 1992, long before Telstra was sold? But it was vested with strict access laws for competitors to also use (the part the shareholders like to gloss over or ignore).

    Yes shareholders bought Telstra, starting in 1997 - not gaining majority control until 2006. But again, the PSTN monopoly was vested to Telstra in 1992, 14 years prior to majority shareholder ownership!

    Problem being, Telstra broke those access laws and admitted it, thus breaking their rules of PSTN ownership (perhaps a legal campaign should be undertaken to relinquish them of ownership accordingly???????).

    So is it really competition policy which has failed or Telstra's fierce resistance to adhere to the competition rules which has failed?

    Regardless it "has failed" and changes are therefore needed.

    In relation to acceptable conduct to BHP or Chinese miners (interesting you typically, as Telstra puppets tend to do, play the race angle, mentioning both the Chinese and Singaporean interests in your comment). The difference being, these other companies were not vested an Australia wide monopoly, as Telstra were.

    But not only did Telstra receive this monopoly and the $b's in unearned profits thereof, they continued to use this monopoly position to the detriment of their competitors, consumers/all Aussies and the laws (those very laws they breached).

    This is again, why changes are needed.

    The current solution It's not unpalatable. What we have received from Telstra, especially since 1992, is unpalatable! In fact, downright unconscionable.
  • Tell him he's dreamin'

    More textual diarrhea from RS..

    So RS stands for Runny S*hit?

    Who exactly is RS the puppet for and don't say the average consumer coz I'm an average consumer and you dont speak for me.
  • Missed opportunities

    It would make more sense to me for the NBN to be bundled with a govt infrastructure project to create underground ducts to all Australian properties. Put power, telecoms and all cabling in th eone purpose built duct. Rent the ducts to the users. Solves any number of issues with only an incremental increase in NBN cost projections.
  • Tell him he's lying...again

    An "anonymous average consumer, lol", who..

    Looks like a typically uneducated, greedy, disgusting TLS shareholder and...

    Smells like, in fact has that overwhelmingly, foul stench of a typically uneducated, greedy, disgusting TLS shareholder...

    Good thing we didn't step in him, eh?
  • re Tell him he's dreamin'

    You don't know who he's for? Shows he's not bias, like you are for Hel$tra, doesnt it.

    I laughed after reading youre reply. Is that the best you Hel$tra fanbois have? All you can say to try to disscredit his right on the money comment about Hel$tra is RS stands for Runny S*hit? R U 4 real?

    I agree with alot but not everything RS says, but he's right about you Hel$tra fanbois and where youre heads are at for sure.
  • RS change your ways.

    RS, again sadly you display unhealthy tendencies to descend into paranoid delusional and reality denying fantasies in your hatred for Australians who defend an Australian company, Telstra. Jealousy really is a curse RS and unless you change your ways you will be totally consumed by it.
  • Time for another tablet uncle Sydney

    What, jealous of a bitter, hostile old man, who lies about everything (including even denying he has Telstra shares when it suits) in a desperate attempt to breath life into those very 70 000 TLS shares he does/doesn't own, lol...

    Shares which 10 years ago, cost him $7.40 (according to a Brad Pitt like interview on NWAT, a few years back, lol) which are now worth JUST $3.38?

    Sorry, just had to stop for a good laugh, now where was I...

    It's quite simple for anyone who isn't sans brain and not totally overcome with greed to understand (which is why you are unable). So I'll try again, listen carefully and perhaps take a tablet!

    It is a few greedy, thoughtless TLS shareholders (remember HOGS - handgful of greedy shareholders) THOSE JUST LIKE YOU, who thankfully only number 4 or 5, who always lie and cheat in favour of Telstra for their own greed and to the detriment of all other Australians, which I dislike.

    Time to retrurn to pre greed, pre TLS reality Sydney. So...

    Sell the shares and smell the roses...